Professor Kwesi Yankah, a Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education has stated that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo led government is not interested in building universities simply for votes or as a mode of thanking supportive constituencies.
“Let me emphasise that this government led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo is not interested in building Universities simply for votes or for that matter thanking supportive constituencies with Universities, and conversely denying constituencies of facilities and institutions, as sanctions for votes that have been thrown away to other parties”, he said.
Prof. Yankah who stated this in Wa during the 18th Congregation of the Wa campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS) noted that government would continue to encourage the setting up of Universities whose courses and programmes responded to the nation’s strategic needs and developmental priorities.
He said this explained the government’s enthusiasm in fulfilling the tenets of the 2015 Act that set up the University of Environmental and Sustainable Development at Somanya, with other campuses.
“As I speak now the Italian firm which was awarded the contract to start work at the University site in Somanya, is preparing to move to site before this November ends”, adding that architectural designs originally presented have undergone changes, and that all was set for the project to kick start.
Additionally, he announced that government would build a University at Bunso that will specialise in Agriculture and Agro-entrepreneurship on one hand, as well as have a school of Engineering and Technology.
The Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education explained that in selecting Bunso, government took into consideration a pre-existing hub of agricultural related institutions that could network and transform the location into a formidable research triangle and a centre of excellence.
The institutions, he said included University College of Agriculture and Environmental Studies at Bunso, the Cocoa College (belonging to the Cocoa Board), the Cocoa Research Institute at Tafo, and a research facility belonging to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
Prof. Yankah hinted that feasibility Studies on that project were currently being undertaken by a team of consultants from Korea working hand-in-hand with their Ghanaian counterparts.
“These Developments are bound to boost Ghana’s prospects in agricultural engineering and technology in furtherance of their national priorities”, he said.
“Similarly, we expect other Universities to diversify their programmes and introduce cutting edge programmes in science and technology that will attract the expected avalanche of graduates from Senior High School (SHS) and accelerate the process of industrialisation”, he added.
Prof. Yankah noted that part of the success of UDS was to balance the one-way migration from Northern to Southern Ghana, saying that had been possible through the utilisation of the education corridor to attract a good percentage of students from various parts of the country to UDS.
“But let’s work together and spread this pattern to other sectors of the economy, and enable migration to Northern Ghana also for trade, for jobs and for recreation”, he appealed.
He pleaded with the University to also use the vehicle of education in Northern Ghana to promote peace and step down functional fighting in the region.
A total of 2,338 students graduated from the Wa campus of UDS while a total of 3,024 would be graduating in Tamale on November 18, 2017.