ISSER Short Courses: boosting professional Skills, improving performanceISSER Short Courses: boosting professional Skills, improving performance

Vicentia Quartey
ISSER Short Courses: boosting professional Skills, improving performanceISSER Short Courses: boosting professional Skills, improving performance

Targeted professional training and refresher courses, like other forms of education, are key to advancing personal career aspirations and raising organisational performance, which in turn influence country-level growth outcomes.

In contribution to the universal goal of training and propelling young people towards a productive and meaningful future, the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) provides educational opportunities to learners in and beyond Ghana, leveraging its world-class faculty and facilities. One of the ways we do this is through our Professional Short Courses Programme.

Comprising five courses developed across the wide spectrum of ISSER’s research expertise, the Short Courses Programme is focused on boosting the capacity and productivity of practising and aspiring professionals by equipping them with the latest knowledge and skills, using the most direct, effective and efficient approaches possible.

As the Director of the Institute, Prof Peter Quartey explains: “Continuous learning and professional development is vital in sustaining performance and growth. The Short Courses impart the latest knowledge and skills in research and related areas, helping address this need among busy professionals.”

The courses, Executive Leadership Programme in Monitoring and Evaluation for Public and Private Sectors (M&E), Research Methodology and Report Writing, Data Management and Analysis, Project Cycle Management, and Survey Techniques using CAPI and NVIVO, run for two weeks each, targeting policy makers, analysts, project/programme implementers, consultants, monitoring and evaluation practitioners, researchers, students,  among others.

Now several decades old and with a strong, positive reputation, the Short Courses Programme continues to make strides in advancing the professional development aspirations of class after class of participants, while promoting the visibility and capacity building mandate of ISSER. It has also proven to be an important relationship building platform, facilitating networking and interaction between ISSER and industry.

But what, one would ask, accounts for the enduring success of the annual Short Courses Programme run by ISSER?

Academic rigour meets practical knowledge

First, the Short Courses Programme is characterised by the application of a blend of knowledge-based learning and practical skills, where concepts are explained through practical examples, based on the experiences of participants and facilitators. To reinforce and demonstrate learning, participants undertake assignments and a project work situated within their respective areas of work. This means lessons have increased contextual relevance. As the Short Courses Coordinator Dr Cynthia Addoquaye Tagoe aptly puts it:  

“The programme differs from what regular education offers in how it brings together knowledge-based education with industry-relevant skills.”   

 Added to this is the fact that courses are delivered by lecturers who are experts in their chosen fields and committed to teaching with academic rigour and contemporary relevance. Each course has multiple facilitators – comprising both young and established researchers – thus there is a refreshing sense of diversity in style of delivery as each facilitator brings their own teaching method and pace.  These elements work together to assure practical and engaging lessons and limitless learning outcomes.

Case in point, the 2021 session of the M&E Short Course was delivered by a team of six facilitators, each one handling topics in their respective areas of strength. The team comprised Adjunct Scholar, Dr David Ameyaw, an M&E practitioner with nearly 30 years’ experience, the Director, Prof. Peter Quartey and Dr Fred Dzanku. Others were Dr Cynthia Addoquaye Tagoe, Dr. Andrew Agyei-Holmes and Dr Michael Kodom.

M&E Short Course 2021 participants during a visit to the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC)
M&E Short Course 2021 participants during a visit to the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC)

Value beyond classroom

The Institute is intentional about giving participants a positive experience all round, and spares no effort in ensuring that every aspect of the planning and organisation of the programme feeds into this goal. Among other provisions, classes are held in the spacious ISSER conference room (which allows the full observation of physical distancing), competent administrative staff are deployed to attend promptly to participants’ concerns, and healthy and delicious refreshments are served to keep participants energised and upbeat.

More importantly, exciting networking opportunities emerge as professionals from diverse settings come together for two weeks, working jointly on assignments, sharing knowledge and experiences, and meals and laughter together. The inevitable engagements that these encounters encourage tend to foster networks and collaborations that are potentially life-long.

“Simply amazing” – the words of Emma Ghartey, a Senior Nursing Assistant at the University of Ghana Hospital who participated in the 2021 Monitoring and Evaluation short course. It is no wonder that Emma came back for the successive course in Research Methodology and Report Writing, so rewarding was her first experience.

Telling outcomes

These qualities, coupled with the Institute’s commitment to value for money and participant satisfaction, have ensured positive outcomes seen in the numbers and high-calibre of professionals that continue to patronise the programme year after year.  Intent on constant improvement, however, ISSER will continue the practice, at the end of each course, of actively seeking, responding to and incorporating participant feedback.

As Ghana, Africa and the world pursue COVID-19 recovery efforts amid the challenge of new variants, we are convinced more than ever of the relevance of the short courses as an important capacity building tool, positioned to contribute to raising a strong labour force needed to drive prospective rebuilding and development. As an institute, we are given to continuing in the delivery of this programme, alongside our regular training programmes, for the good of professionals, organisations, Ghana and Africa.

For 2021, two out of five courses have been held (i.e. Executive Leadership Programme in Monitoring and Evaluation, in Research Methodology and Report Writing), with three more to go. Please, find details of successive 2021 short courses here.

On request, customised training can be arranged and delivered to meet the peculiar needs of (staff of) organisations. Contact the Short Courses Desk:; 057 769 9900 / 057 769 9902.