India’s Gujarat Forensic Sciences University Partners UCC to Establish a Forensic Institute

The University of Cape Coast (UCC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar India. The agreement would, among other provisions, strengthen the capacity of faculty members in UCC’s Department of Forensic Sciences and offer advanced training opportunities for Ghanaian students in the field of forensics. A key feature of the agreement is the establishment of an Institute of Forensic Sciences at UCC. The Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU) is the world’s first and only University dedicated to Forensics and Allied Sciences, with an objective of training forensic experts to meet their increasing demand in India and globally. GFSU is a State University with advanced and specialized postgraduate academic programmes. The Director General (Vice-Chancellor) of GFSU, Dr. J.M. Vyas who is also the Director of the Gujarat State Directorate of Forensic Sciences, a state-of-the-art ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited laboratory of international repute – expressed his excitement with the collaboration and the prospects of helping UCC build a Forensic Institute that could serve as a Centre of Excellence in Forensic Science education for the West African sub-region and by extension, Africa. He emphasized the need to train students and build capacity of law enforcement officers and personnel in the judicial services to expedite crime prevention, prosecution and management. The University of Cape Coast was represented by a three-member delegation led by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor George K.T. Oduro. Other members were Dr. Richmond Afoakwah, the head of Forensic Sciences Department, and Mr. Dan Osei Mensah Bonsu, an Assistant Lecturer of the Department. Speaking on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Oduro appreciated the collaborative gesture of GFSU. He further noted that the difficulty faced by Ghana´s judicial system was due to limited expertise in forensics. Citing the Melcom disaster and recent market fires for which Ghana sought expertise from Israel and the US, he recounted the huge costs involved in such an approach, and the attendant difficulty of potentially revealing sensitive national intelligence to foreign experts. In his opinion, most criminal cases still pending in Ghana’s courts would have been easily adjudicated but for lack of adequate forensic evidence. Prof. Oduro reiterated management’s commitment to the promotion of quality forensic sciences education in UCC and emphasized that resourcing the Forensic Sciences Department is a priority for management. “We are very positive that this MoU would help us collaborate in areas of mutual interest in forensics, and we hope to tap your expertise to build forensic and investigative services in Ghana to a level of an enviable international repute”, Prof. Oduro stressed. On his part, Dr. Afoakwah indicated that he was “very optimistic of the success of this partnership with the only forensic science university in the world” and would “work hard to achieve all objectives spelt out in the MoU”. Other officials of GFSU who witnessed the signing of the MOU were the Registrar, Mr. Shri Chhatrapalsinh D. Jadeja, the Director of the Institute of Forensic Science, Dr. M.S. Dahiya, the Deputy Director, Directorate of Forensic Science (Home Department, Government of Gujarat) and the International Academic Advisor (GFSU), Mr. Ravish Shah.