Factors Constraining University for Development Studies in Community Engagement in Northern Ghana

Usman Kojo Abonyi


University for Development Studies (UDS) was established in 1992 with an explicit mandate to blend its academic work with that of the community in order to provide constructive interaction for the total development of northern Ghana in particular, and the country as a whole. Past research has shown that UDS has appreciably linked its teaching, research, and service roles to the socio-economic needs of northern Ghana. This study sought to illuminate the key factors constraining the university in its community engagement programs. It employed an interpretive research paradigm through semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis. In all 20 participants were purposefully drawn from specific units within the university for the study. Results from the study showed that inadequate funding of community engagement activities by the national government and regional authorities, inadequate infrastructural development in northern Ghana, lack of ability and readiness of the regional economy to absorb university knowledge and graduates, lack of specific internal incentive structures to motivate academics to engage in activities of regional nature and unwillingness of some academics to engage in activities of regional nature serve as the key factors constraining the regional role of the university. The study, therefore, recommends that if UDS is recognized as a key player in the development of Northern Ghana, then, the national government, regional authorities, and university administrators need to create an enabling environment and put in place appropriate policy support structures to stimulate an effective engagement of the university with its surrounding communities.

Keywords: Universities, community engagement, University for Development Studies, Ghana

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