General News of Sunday, 8 March 2015
The department of computer science at the University of Ghana is facing a serious dearth of resources.
The department, which has been in existence since 1976 has never been able to produce a single Professor in the field as a result of its poor infrastructure and resources, department head Dr Ferdinand Apietu Katsriku has told Joshephine Asabea Akonor of Starr News.
The department’s students, numbering hundreds are compelled by the less-than-pleasant resource constraints to cramp up in a 48-seater laboratory which is stocked with tattered seats and zero research materials.
Apart of the lack of resources, Dr Katsriku also said the department has less than half of the lecturers needed to teach students.
Dr Katsriku bemoaned that the lack of specialised labs in the department is hindering the work of students.
He expressed sadness about how the department has been abandoned and given no attention, despite the fact that computer science is now the driver of all economies in the world.
In his view, if the Computer science department of the University is well resourced, it will be able to churn out students who can develop software locally, a situation he believes will eventually help Ghana save a lot of revenue by putting an end to the importation of such facilities.
As things stand now, Dr Katsriku said students of the department cannot be compared to their colleagues in better Universities outside Ghana since they lack practical experience.
“They have sound theoretical knowledge as far as theoretical knowledge is concerned, but if it comes to practical skills, they lack there because if the lab is not there to experiment, if we say okay, we will teach how to configure and install a network and we don’t have the facility to actually configure and install a network, of course we can teach you how to simulate that, so we have a computer, we have a simulator that enables you to put a network component together just like real life and do it, it’s not the same thing as actually taking the physical thing, bringing it together, making it work and seeing it work,” he said.
The department’s key focus is wireless application development like security systems, mobile phone applications and many others. The students also do applied computing and develop solutions to problems where censors are used to detect emergency situations.
These applications can easily detect the outbreak of water-borne diseases by sending indications via mobile phones. They can also give security alerts to nearest police stations of a crime in action and help decongest the city by their application to traffic communication. Dr Katsriku is pleading with authorities to come to the aid of the department since their situation is embarrassing.
Some of the students who also spoke to Starr News described the situation as appalling and shameful.