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INTERVIEW WITH TA KARIM

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Mr. Azumah Karim is a Teaching Assistant at the Mathematics and Statistics department. He obtained a Second Class Upper as a student reading BSc. Statistics after acquiring an HND from the Kumasi Polytechnic. Apart from being a humble and approachable person, TA Karim has exhibited a lot of knowledge and understanding of the courses he assists in. He hails from Bawku in the Upper East region and is the last of seven children. TA Karim is one who loves sports and a true gentleman from the Casely Hayford hall.

 CHSM- Good morning

AK-Good morning

CHSM- How is your day?

AK- Very cool

CHSM- Can you please tell us about yourself?

AK- My name is Azumah Karim. I come from the Upper East region of the country precisely Bawku. I am single. I come from a humble family and I am the youngest of seven children who are all males. I came to UCC from Kumasi Poly and I am currently a Teaching Assistant.

CHSM- How was it like growing up in the kind of background you have?

AK- As the youngest son or child, I needed to attend to everybody whilst I make sure my books were not compromised as a result. It was not easy attending to my family members and learning as well.

CHSM-Tell us about your educational history and the type of student you were?

AK- I attended an English and Arabic school for my JHS called Hassania English and Arabic JSS in Bawku, Sabon-geri. Getting to class five, I realized the importance of education and I stepped up my gear to make sure that whatever was been done at school, I was part of it. From then, I became part of every activity at school be it quiz or whatever. From Hassania JHS, I went to Bawku Senior High School and completed in 2003. I then furthered to Kumasi Polytechnic in 2004, completed in 2007 and did my first national service in 2008. I came to UCC in 2009 and graduated in 2011.

CHSM- What informed your decision to study here, the University of Choice and how was the admission process?

AK- As someone who is interested in acquiring Knowledge and analytical skills with the least opportunity, I wanted to get more insight into the course of my study which is Statistics that is why I chose UCC. So I was called for an interview after applying and fortunately, I got in. I was affiliated to Casely-Hayford hall and I am still in the hall as a TA. Yes I am a “Fellow”

CHSM- What was the experience like when you were a student?

AK-Well, UCC, the system here is different from what I had already. Over here understanding of the concepts and it applications is paramount to your success. You always need to understand what you have before you go to the exams room and because of this I was always listening to my lecturers and doing what I was supposed to do. To be fair, my first quiz in UCC campus was disastrous, I had four out of twenty (Introductory Analysis) and I nearly cried when I took my quiz paper. I even wanted to call my parents and inform them I wanted to quit but upon second thought I did not because I saw it as a challenge I had to overcome. From then, I never performed poorly again.

CHSM- Were you the social type whiles you were a student?

AK-  When I was a student, I was the quiet type but I had interest in sports so some of the times I contributed to sports apart from which I do not engage myself in any other thing.

CHSM- What do you wish changed about our university?

AK- At my department, the mathematics and statistics department, there are certain courses that I think should be changed with due respect. One of such courses is Introduction to Computing. Even though it is a good course, the way it is been handled has no relation to the courses we are offering in this department it should be in the form of programming language. Secondly, there are some other courses that I think should be handled for a full academic year instead of only a semester. Multivariate is an example of such courses. New courses such as entrepreneurship, economics, Quality Control, Demography, Statistical Computing among others should be introduced. These courses will make graduates from UCC fit for any society they find themselves.

CHSM- How will you describe your lecturers when you were a student?

AK- My lecturers were very cooperative, very nice, they were good. They are masters of their own in the areas they handle.

CHSM- What about the Lecturer you now serve, Dr. N.K. Howard?

AK- Well, Dr. Howard is very principled, good man and he is very kind. If you want to be happy with him, you have to obey his principles. If he tells you do not do this, you just have to obey it.

CHSM- Our readers will like to know what class you graduated in and how you managed to get it.

AK- I graduated with a Second Class Upper Division. And to get an Upper is determination and hardwork.

CHSM- What does it take to be a Teaching Assistant (TA)?

AK- Frankly speaking, TA’ship is just like any other place that you can find yourself doing your service. TA’ship is your understanding of the concepts taught in class and how you approach issues.

CHSM- Why did you choose to be a TA instead of go out there and serve in a ‘big’ company?

AK- To constantly study and even understand concept I did not understand during my undergrad’s level.  I wanted to further my education after service, so TA’ship could be an avenue for me to continue my education afterwards.

CHSM- Do you regret your decision to stay and assist in teaching?

AK- Not at all.

CHSM- Are the rumours about TA’s taking advantage of the female students true?

AK- (Laughs). Errh it is Yes or No. For me, it is a speculation, however some students say use what you have to get what you want. So female students on that hand may fall victims to this.

CHSM- As a TA, how will you advise your students to go about with their studies?

AK- first and foremost, students should make much use of their course outlines. They should look at the topics in the outline and try to read ahead of the class. They should also attend lectures and listen to what the lecturers have to say. When they do all these things there will be no pressure ahead of quizzes or exams.

CHSM- What do you have to say about Ghana Association of Statistics Students (GASS), an association you were once President of?

AK- GASS is growing. At least before we came the morale was very low. We came and raised it a bit and I think afterwards it is gaining grounds. I hope in few years time, it will become one of the most performing association on campus.

CHSM- Any advice for students of your department?

AK- well, they should be respectful. They should know what they want and should study hard. They should form study groups because studying in groups help a lot. Lastly, they should continue learning till the last day they finish their exams.

CHSM- This year is an election year, what advice do you have for the student voter?

AK- Students should stand on their feet and scrutinize the policies of the various political parties and then select the one that will at least develop Ghana. Students should not allow themselves to be used as trouble makers.

CHSM- Thank you very much

AK- Thank you too.

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