In showcasing the Department of Tourism, we joined them to visit a few tourist sites in Ghana. The department seized the opportunity to celebrate a few of their alumni. As we wrap up we revisit the Head of the Department, HoD, Mr Michael Kissi to explain what new norms have been adopted in teaching and learning.
HOST: Welcome again to ghhospitality.net. I understand you want to show case one more of your alumni. Who is she/he?
HoD: Victor Mawutor Agbo is a proud alumnus of the Department of Tourism, Cape Coast Technical University (CCTU). He holds an HND Tourism and Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management from CCTU and University of Cape Coast (UCC) respectively. He also holds a Master of Environmental Studies in Geography from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. During his master’s programme in Canada, Victor won many prestigious scholarships and awards including the 2017-2018 Bruce Mitchell Scholarship, and Recipient of the 2018 NTA Luray Caverns Graduate Research Scholarship; and the 2019-2023 University of Waterloo recipient of the International Doctoral Student Award. He is currently employed by the University of Waterloo as a Graduate Research/Teaching Assistant, a role he has served in for the past four years. He also works on part time basis as a supervisor at the Survey Research Centre at the University of Waterloo.
HOST: Wow, that’s impressive. Congratulations! I have always thought there are more female students in hospitality and tourism than males however, of the five alumni you have showcased I observe four males and one female. What signal is this giving?
HoD: Well, it just happened that most of the alumni we featured are males. However, we have our female alumni who also do very well across the world. Marian Muyenga, one of our Female Alumni, is managing a hotel in Paris, France, with her husband. A couple of them are also air hostesses with various airlines including Kenya airlines. Ms. Barbara Amanda Brown, one of our Female Alumni has been with Kenya Airlines since 2009, some twelve years now. Some are also with the Ghana Airport Company, and are doing excellently well there. I can talk of Ms. Charlotte Asantewaa Nkansah, who has been with the Ghana Airport Company over a decade and still counting. There are a lot of them we can talk about. Next time, we will feature them.
HOST: Wonderful. I’m glad I asked. Taking a critical look at the backgrounds of the individuals you celebrated, you will observe that practically all of them added other disciplines of study to prop themselves up, in their career paths. What capabilities and knowledge areas do graduates (undergraduate and master’s students) entering our world (hospitality and tourism) of the future need to acquire in their education to stay in hospitality and tourism industry?
HoD: Indeed, I am of the opinion that we as training institutions are doing our best to train and give our students and graduates all the theoretical and practical skills they need to thrive in the tourism and hospitality industry. The challenge I see is the lack of opportunities in the country for especially our tourism graduates to demonstrate the knowledge and capabilities they have been imbibed with during their training in the university. For example, in the Tourism Act, Act 817, 2011, Section 16, we are supposed to have District Tourism Offices of the Ghana Tourism Authority to ensure the effective development of the tourism and hospitality industry in all the 212 metropolitan, municipal, and district divisions or areas across the 16 regions in the country. However, a decade since the Tourism Act was passed, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MoTAC), and the Government of Ghana are yet to operationalise this provision of the Act. Imagine if this is done, how it would contribute to the development of more tourism attractions and the tourism industry and help create more opportunities for our tourism graduates as it pertains in other African countries such as South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda, Tunisia, Mauritius, Swaziland and so on.
HOST: Alright, thanks. Now let’s turn our attention to teaching and learning. I know learning environments play a crucial role in students’ success. What unique learning environment has been created for your students; I mean students of hospitality and tourism at CCTU?
HoD: Our Department endeavours to give our students not only a strong theoretical foundation and appreciation of the tourism industry, but also a competency-based appreciation of the industry through field trips and tours, internships, industrial visits, practical events organisation. Again, lecturers engage their students in active discussions, and give them opportunities to make presentations in class, carry out practical projects, role plays, and generally express their ideas of how best they think the tourism and hospitality industry in the country can be developed to contribute to the country’s development.
HOST: I believe you have read this blog’s articles on the departments of hospitality and tourism of UCC and TTU. Are your ‘new normals’ similar to theirs.
HoD: Indeed, they are especially in the areas of the increasing use of information and communications technology or digital or online technology and softwares such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, Meet Now, Facebook live and so on in the teaching and learning of tourism and hospitality subjects. Again, other areas we need to emphasize in our teaching our students in these times are effective crisis management, resiliency, flexibility, multiskilling, and the increasing importance of creativity, critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, problem solving skills, team working skills, safety and security, and working effectively in flexible work environment, and so on.
HOST: I came across the following reactions to e-learning.
- All this does is create a lazy teacher.
- Avoids using writing skills
- Stop trying to make every learning experience technical.
- Technology is robbing the brain of needed connections
What do you make of them?
HoD: Well, I certainly do not think e-learning makes teachers lazy, nor makes teachers avoid using writing skills; neither does it make every learning experience of students technical, nor rob the brain of learners of needed connections in their learning.
I am rather of the opinion that, if anything at all, e-learning challenges teachers out of our comfort zones to learn and develop new and innovative ways of connecting with our students in the developmental enterprise of teaching and learning. It forces us teachers to come out with innovative ways of ensuring and assessing our students’ active learning or engagement in the learning enterprise. We have no option but to adopt and adapt e-learning for use in educating and training our students to be useful citizens for themselves, their communities, and the country at large.
HOST: Mr. Kissi, once again, thank you for your time and congratulations.
HoD: Thank you very much for the opportunity you’ve given us to present to the world, what we’ve been doing at the Department of Tourism, Cape Coast Technical University all these years. We deeply appreciate it, and we say, God bless you abundantly.