The University for Development Studies (UDS) has dispatched 4,975 first year students to 414 communities in 17 districts in the Northern and Upper East Regions.
The students are to undertake their Third Trimester Field Practical Programme (TTFPP) to identify development challenges of those communities.
The districts include East Gonja, West Gonja, Central Gonja, Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, Mion and Yendi Municipality.
This brings to 10,549 the number of UDS students undertaking their TTFPP in 797 communities in four regions in northern Ghana.
They include Northern, Upper East, Brong-Ahafo and Ashanti Regions.
Professor Gabriel Teye, Pro-Vice Chancellor of UDS announced this in Tamale on Monday during the orientation ceremony on TTFPP for students of the 2014/2015 academic year prior to dispatching them to the districts.
Prof Teye said this year’s TTFPP, would end on July 18.
He said as many as 132 lecturers would supervise the programme in the communities besides the oversight monitoring by the management of the university.
The UDS’ TTFPP is an academic period where students of the university spend the last term of their academic year at communities to identify development problems and challenges with the view to formulate specific interventions to overcome them.
Prof Teye said the TTFPP is a platform for UDS students at the very beginning of their academic lives to contribute their quota to national and rural development as the data collated by them on the field are used for the preparation of district medium term development plans.
He said evidence generated from the university’s research indicated that the TTFPP has succeeded in changing the minds of graduates on their attitude towards working in rural or deprived areas of the country.
He appealed to government, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, non-governmental organisations and well-meaning individuals to lend financial support to the university to sustain and expand the TTFPP.
Dr Martin Ofosu, director of TTFPP of UDS urged students to conduct themselves well in the communities and adhere to all rules and regulations of the university while on the field.
Meanwhile, UDS has partnered World Vision Ghana, an NGO, to provide a water purifying technology to be used by the students on the field to purify water before drinking since most of the communities do not have access to potable water.