General News of Monday, 29 July 2019
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene and Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has said there is the need for all to stakeholders to accommodate divergent views on the new Public Universities Bill.
“The interest generated by the general public on the Bill should give a strong signal to government to accommodate divergent views being expressed by stakeholders,” he said.
The identifiable stakeholder groups comprise Vice-Chancellors Ghana (VCG), University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), members of convocation across all public universities.
“Ultimately, the concerns and interests of all major stakeholders must be seen to have been taken on board, in the final draft, for the sake of harmony and industrial peace on campuses,” Otumfuo Osei Tutu, said.
Addressing the closing session of the 53rd congregation ceremony of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, the Asantehene, who is also Chancellor of the University, said all stakeholders must respect the views of others.
They should avoid confrontations and consolidation of positions on the Bill. “I would, therefore, strongly urge government to allow further and broader consultations in order to iron out any grey areas before the Bill is placed before Parliament,” the Chancellor said.
The five-day congregation had a total of 8, 177 students graduating, this comprised 7, 105 undergraduates and 1, 072 postgraduates.
Nine-hundred-and-thirty (930), representing 34 per cent of the graduates passed out with First Class Honours degree.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, commenting on the proposal to draft a comprehensive new tertiary educational policy which seeks among others to merge the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and National Accreditation Board (NAB), entreated stakeholders to fully participate in the process to ensure its smooth take off.
The Chancellor said the state must be interested in students’ residential accommodation on campus and complement the efforts of the private sector in this regard.
The accommodation challenges, he said, could worsen come the 2020/2021 academic year with the influx of students as a result of the ‘Free Senior High School (SHS)’ policy.
“The earlier the government acts, the better,” Otumfuo Osei Tutu advised. Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, who represented the President, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the programme, said the government was working assiduously to promote science and technology education.
For this reason, it would continue to assist the KNUST with infrastructure development in order to train the critical human resource needed to spearhead the nation’s development aspirations.
He lauded the university authorities for their commitment to duty and advised the graduating students to endeavour to bring to bear on the society the expertise they have acquired to help improve the living conditions of the people.
Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso, the Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, gave an overview of the academic performance of the students and faculty members over the years, saying they were determined to make the University one of the best in Africa.