Set up private universities in less endowed regions...Okudzeto Ablakwa urges investors (November 17,2014)

The government is considering freezing the establishment of private universities in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. 

The decision is part of proposals for the ongoing review of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) Law, Act 454, to expand access to tertiary education for resident of deprived regions in the country.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who gave the hint, said the government would give incentives to private partners who would want to set up higher institutions of learning in less endowed regions.

He was speaking at the eighth Congregation of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) in Accra last Saturday. 

In all, 464 people graduated with diplomas and degrees in Communication Studies (Journalism and Public Relations options).

 Out of the number, 310 were females while 144 were males.

Eighty-seven graduates had First Class, including four journalists of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), namely, Mabel Aku Baneseh, Seth J. Bokpe, Elorm Kojo Ntumy and Jasmine Arku.

The deputy minister said as part of the review of Act 454, new private universities would have to go through the NCTE, instead of  the National Accreditation Board (NAB), to ensure that their programmes of study were streamlined to meet the country’s developmental needs.

“The situation where the vast majority of our universities are focusing on the Humanities and the Arts and not training our scientists and our engineers is worrying,” he said.

Mr Okudzeto commended the GIJ for offering more opportunities to women to study, saying that that arrangement fed into the government’s policy of ensuring gender parity in education in Ghana.

Create opportunities

The Managing Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana, Mr Alhassan Andani, who was the guest speaker for the occasion, challenged the graduates not to add to the numbers of people in search of jobs but rather join forces and create jobs for themselves and others.

He urged them not to just walk out of the school with their academic qualifications but use their talents and knowledge to positively impact on society.

He advised them to set the right agenda as journalists to ensure the development of the country.
“For me, quality education is that piece of education that unleashes you to do something and galvanise the community to do something. Most of us will just walk out with the degree or diploma and wait to be told what to do,’’ he said.

Development

In a report that touched on a wide range of issues, including the strategic direction of the university, infrastructure and practical training, the Rector of the institute, Dr Wilberforce S. Dzisah, said the school  would focus on vigorous human resource and infrastructure development programmes.

Although established in 1959 by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana, and became a fully fledged university in 2009, the GIJ’s age does not match its infrastructure.

But the rector said that would soon be a thing of the past, in spite of the financial challenges confronting the institute.

“While the medium to long-term strategic plan is to accelerate the rate of development of the new site, we have, as a matter of necessity, been expanding facilities at our present campus in order to meet pressing demands and fulfill our expanded access objective,” he said. 

He said while the contractor working on the new site was expected to return to site because the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) had fulfilled its financial obligation to the contractor, the institute had also initiated steps to build hostels for its students at the new site to reduce the accommodation burden on them.

Tributes

The occasion was also used to pay tribute to a former rector of the GIJ, Mr David Newton, who retired in August this year after 29 years of service.
Deserving students were honoured for their academic performance.

The Overall Best Student award, sponsored by the GCGL, went to Noel Nutsugah, who also won the Best Student in Journalism (Regular) award. Noble J.K. Kukubor received the Best Student in Journalism (Top-Up) award, with ASP Kweku Dompreh winning the Best  Student in Public Relations (Top-Up).

Other award winners were Promising Best Student, Bernice Abu-Baidoo; Best Student in Public Relations (Regular), Keneritt Asah-Bediako, and Overall Best Student in Diploma, Kingsley Komla Adom.

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