It was a frantic quest for solutions that led me there the second time. And the third and fourth time. Then I didn’t step foot there any longer. My questions were barely answered, however hard I tried.
But the first time, the very first time I visited the University of Ghana, Legon, it was nothing short of a blissful experience. I have tons of pictures to show for it. From the torrential blue water slobbering from the mouths of beautiful metallic sculptures, to the Great tower that stood tall like a fearless soldier on the warfront, everything was a pleasant sight.
The University of Ghana is one of the oldest African Universities there is. I daresay it’s one of the most prestigious ones too, with an extensive variety of courses to show for it. It isn’t only a land with obvious beauty, but with brains as well.
The vivid picture of a Nigerian University to compare it to will be my alma-matter, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife, seeing that it’s the sole four walls of a tertiary institution I have ever lived in. Being the equally prestigious University that OAU is, it gives for a level ground for comparison.
Obafemi Awolowo University is that place you walk into and serenity greets you. With both natural and architectural finesse, this great citadel of learning was built. Sculptural heads of famous Nigerian legends litter every corner, compelling you to ask historical questions you didn’t bargain for. And the level of complexity of many of the buildings, the Spider for example, leaves you enamored.
The latter has about thirteen faculties, each consisting different departments. However, the number of faculties and departments in the former are not only more in number, but also properly diversified. You hear of something like The Department of Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgery and you just wonder!
There is also the Department of Biomedical Engineering, a course I doubt has ever been thought of in any Nigerian university.
Knowing the current state of the Nigerian educational stance towards strikes, we can infer that the Ghanaian tertiary system leads in terms of predictability of the academic year. I had an interesting chat with one student of the University the other day. Being the typical Nigerian that I am, I instantly expected her to understand when I said I spent six years in the University for a five-year course, and no, I didn’t have a spill. It was the puzzled look on her face that jolted me back to reality, and then I had to explain the concept of baseless strikes at different times that accumulated into one year. Even then, she still did not understand. I do not blame her at all.
They say that when you gain admission into a Nigerian University (one that is neither private, nor ASUU compliant), you should budget for some extra time because you can only really determine the time of entry. This reality is saddening.
I will readily give props to the Nigerian University in this analysis for its resourcefulness, nonetheless. Earlier in the article, I mentioned something about going to find help in the University of Ghana and leaving empty handed. The bitter truth is, this could hardly ever have taken place in OAU. There’s always someone somewhere who is into what you are looking for, because the students are very enterprising. As you walk all the way from the Student Union Building down to Fajuyi hall, all the way to Awolowo Hall, you would see posters, banners, or billboards publicizing one business or the other which are often times owned by students. If it is the inborn tendency to hustle or just plain passion for business that drives them, one can hardly tell.
This does not take anything away from the academic performances, however. Year after year, the University continues to churn out professionals who go on to be great ambassadors of the citadel of learning. Annual records of geniuses who keep beating current GPA records are continually renewed. People really read in that place. Unfortunately, I cannot fully compare this with its Ghanaian counterpart because of insufficient information.
Both institutions have primary and secondary schools in their compounds with standard learning facilities, and both are passionate about sports. Both have inbuilt residential areas for both staff and students, which is commendable. Living conditions in both this institutions may defer, however, due to availability of space for available number of students. While the number of students is slightly similar, the halls at Legon are far more than those in OAU, creating more space and better living conditions for its students. A one-time walk through the Volta female hall of Legon had me comparing it to the OAU ‘big-girl’ arena called Moremi. The difference was apparent.
The University of Ghana owns a Business school that is taken very seriously. It also offers a wider range of course options. This is why you can find a person studying both Arabic and Economics concurrently, and getting double honors for both courses. The question to be asked is: Isn’t it distracting to offer two entirely unrelated courses at once? My response will be: I don’t think so.
I do think, however, that the capacity of our brain is often times belittled. If one is capable of speaking French and English fluently, then one is indeed capable of multitasking. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the level of commitment.
Besides, the two courses cited as an example are not completely unrelated. A lady from the University who actually did this combination reported that the plan is to go into economic relations with Arab speaking countries, and hence, the need to know both courses well. She is currently in Egypt now, doing a yearlong training course. See?
All in all, I think both Universities are standard institutions for education and refinement, and I do not mean this in the academic aspect alone. Socially, even spiritually as is the case with OAU, and mentally, you can’t not be transformed going through those walls. While OAU ranks nineteenth on the African Universities list, University of Ghana ranks twenty-first, while being firsts on the list in their individual countries. This alone, speaks for itself.
Written by: Ife Olujuyigbe