The University of Ghana launched a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme in economics for post-graduate students and cut the sod for the construction of a building for the Department of Economics, funded by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) Thursday morning.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, said the initiative to start the PhD programme forms part of the university’s plan to enhance the department of economics in the coming years.
The programme, designed to accommodate 20 of the current 70 M Phil students, has the possibility to elevate the department.
Mr. Aryeetey stated that with the support of the economics department “we will take our first batch of 20 students studying for their PhD in economics and pair them with lecturers from Cornell, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) next year.”
He expressed the hope that the PhD programme will “create an enabling intellectual environment for training and research and will eventually elevate the department to the status of a School of Economics.”
Mr. Aryeetey highlighted plans for the programme during the launch of the sod cutting ceremony.
The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, noted that the PhD programme is “consistent with the Bank of Ghana’s corporate social responsibility, hence its decision to provide a grant of US$2,000,000 for completion of Phase 1 of the project.”
He said the increase in the number of students is affecting the facilities, adding that conditions are definitely not congenial for academic work.
Mr. Amissah-Arthur said with the increase in the number of students from about 400 in 1990 to 2, 000 in recent years, students have to pack themselves in the lecture block with some standing outside to listen to lectures.
However, he noted that in spite of the challenges confronting the department, it continues to contribute towards the training of economists.
He was optimistic that the project will be completed within budget and on time to “enable us meet next year to commission the building.”
Dr. Fritz A. Gockel, Head of the Department of Economics, said the new building will consist of an 890-seat main auditorium, 12 seminar rooms, a computer room and library that will allow the school to grow.
Though the department is still looking for more investors to complete the project, phase one is slated to be completed by July 2012.