In a historic move, the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and the Tour Operators’ Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) on May 17, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together to bridge existing gap between academia and industry.
The brief ceremony which took place at the office of the Provost, College of Humanities and Legal Studies, sealed formal relations between the two entities who have enjoyed close engagements for years. It was through such collaborations that the UCC began its executive Master’s Programme in Tourism and Hospitality Management five years ago with scores of TOUGHA members benefitting from it so far.
TOUGHA President, Mrs. Alisa Osei-Asamoah revealed that the MoU was a culmination of correspondence with the University when the Union met with them last year April as part of their tour of the Central Region. “We had our general meeting here and after that we discussed at length, how we can collaborate and work together and I am glad today, we are witnessing it materialize,” she stated.
The Provost, Prof. Francis Eric Amuquandoh who was acting on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, expressed hope that the provisions of the agreement would be followed through to eventually help boost the country’s tourism.
“Tourism has helped a lot of countries from developing to developed ones and I believe we can achieve same as a country if we are intentional about it. It is also important that we work together to ensure that we produce the desired products.
“So to me, industry-academia relationship is very important to move our country forward. And if we are to do that, we need to make sure that the human resource we produce are fit so that when they go into the industry, there wouldn’t be much problems turning them around,” Prof. Amuquandoh posited.
Key points of the agreement allow for tourism students from the university to get access to hands-on experience from the tour operators while providing the latter an opportunity to make use of academic research from the school.
“The MoU covers three main areas. On has to do with the issue of training and it specifically has to do with TOUGHA as an association helping us to sharpen the skills of our students; receiving our students on internships and giving them on the job training. Another dimension of it is capacity building which is still under training.
“It spells out what we can also do for TOUGHA; whenever they come up with a training need and they think we have the capacity to offer it, then we will step in to offer it. Another dimension to it is research. In case TOUGHA is in need of research activity or engagement, then they fall on us to undertake it for them,” Head of Hospitality and Tourism Department, Prof. Issahaku Adam explained.
In addition, TOUGHA members would have the opportunity to guest-lecture students to share industry perspectives as and when the need be as part of the agreement.
Present of at the signing ceremony were some executives of TOUGHA including, Vice President, Michael Orleans, General Secretary, Yvonne Donkor, Organising Secretary, Eddo Appolinaire Panou and former president, Amb. Nancy Sam. Accompanying them were Central Regional Manager, Ghana Tourism Authority, Kwame Gyasi and from the Corporate Affairs Department, Kofi Atta Kakra Kusi.
Representing the University were, Prof. Kwaku Adutwum Boakye, Dean of International Education, Prof. Ishmael Mensah, Ghana Director of the Confucius Institute – UCC, and the Registrar of the College of Humanities and Legal Studies.
By: Samuel Obeng Appah