The University of Cape Coast (UCC) recognises the transformation of the world from resource-intensive to knowledge-intensive economy in the last three decades. This shift, which has occurred within the context of globalisation, has created opportunities as well as challenges for institutions of higher learning around the world. The change has manifested itself in various forms, including increased competitiveness for high calibre human capital and the need for new models of academic engagement. The technological developments associated with the knowledge-intensive economy have also necessitated the re- organisation of the management of tertiary institutions as well as the personal lives of staff and students in ways fundamentally different from the recent past. For instance, the new media for communication has altered the way people interact, seek and transmit information and conduct academic and social discourse.
The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as a sequel to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), has provided a platform for countries and institutions of higher learning to network. Institutions of higher learning in low and medium income countries, such as Ghana, should be able to position themselves to contribute to the knowledge-intensive economy within the context oftheSDGs. Thiscanbedonethroughthecreationofnicheareasinresearch, teachingandcommunityengagement,and exploringtherangeoftechnological devices to enable their institutions of higher learning become creative.
In contrast to the situation in the last quarter of the 20th Century when higher education institutions in Africa experienced setbacks in the form of dwindling government support engendered by the low priority given to higher education, the beginning of the 21st Century has seen renewed interest in higher education at the national and international levels. In Ghana, the introduction of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and the institution of user fees for students have increased educational funding and have assisted to improve on infrastructure. Efforts made to improve conditions of service of staff and the support for research have helped to reverse the brain drain which had stifled the development of higher education institutions.
This requires that the University of Cape Coast, as a public university, must significantly transform its knowledge and research base, curricula, modes of delivery, academic support and corporate culture. It also needs to draw from its strengths to leverage resources in its quest to create niches for itself. The discovery of offshore oil and gas in the University's catchment area for research and outreach, the serenity of its location, the vast coastal and forest resources and its leading role in education in Ghana, place UCC in good stead to expand its scope of research activities, to develop new academic programmes and to attract first class staff and students.
UCC has been able to innovate and transform itself over its half a century of existence.Ithasthesamecapacitynowto respondtotheneedsofthecountry,its constituencies and academic pursuits. While the University seeks to innovate in its course offerings and research activities in order to raise funds, it must remain focused on the fundamental essence of tertiary education, which is to foster a nurturing environment for critical thinking and life-long learning. The study of intangible and esoteric issues has formed the fundamental raw material of all civilizations. The third strategic plan has been conceptualized to ensure the maintenance of this core function of higher education while at the same time providing the road map to take advantage of the changing scene in higher education delivery and in the global world generally.