Dr Sir Sam Esson Jonah, the Chancellor, University of Cape Coast (UCC), has cautioned against draconian measures and policies in the country’s quest to revive the economy.
“It is crucial that we take decisions with empathy and keen understanding of the impact of our action on the lives of our citizens,” he said.
“Our policies must not go to exacerbate the existing struggles our citizens are facing.”
Sir Jonah gave the caution in an address to the Fifth Session of the 55th Congregation of UCC on Saturday, during which 1,430 students from the School of Graduate Studies were recognised.
They graduated with Doctor of Philosophy, Master’s Degree, Postgraduate Diploma, and Postgraduate certificates.
Among the graduating class was the India High Commissioner to Ghana, Sugandh Rajaram, who graduated with a Master of Philosophy in Geography and Regional Planning.
In all 6,664 students graduated from the first to the fifth session.
Sir Jonah observed that the “unprecedented” hard times of the country had fostered “hopelessness and helplessness” particularly among the youth, a development which could undermine security and stability.
The situation, therefore, called for “a very healthy dose of humility” in decision-making as the country navigated the difficult path of economic restructuring, he noted.
Ghana’s economy was saddled with inflation, high interest rate, a volatile currency, debt distress among other economic challenges, a situation worsened by geopolitical interests, Dr Jonah said.
Recent efforts by the Government to rescue the economy had resulted in several unpopular measures, including the Domestic Debt Exchange programme and the introduction of new taxes.
These measures, coupled with a request for debt forgiveness from China, government says are to enable it to secure a $3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to save the economy from total collapse.
Sir Jonah, expressing concern over the situation, called on all stakeholders to work with unity, resilience and determination while making a lot of sacrifices to save the economy.
He urged the Government and policymakers to listen more and speak less to enable them to make sound and informed decisions with minimal consequences on the citizens.
They must work collectively to create the opportunities for the youth to guarantee a promising and prosperous future, he said.
“We must listen to their voices and consider their perspectives as we develop policies and strategies for the betterment our nation. Indeed, we must engage with them, learn from their experiences and we must work together to create an environment where everyone can thrive,” he said.
For the graduands, the Chancellor challenged them to see the difficult times as an opportunity for growth, innovation and change by deploying the skills and knowledge acquired for their own benefit and that of the nation.
“It is during the most trying times in history that true leaders emerge and your education has provided you with the tools to become such leaders,” he said.
Prof Johnson Nyarko Boampong, the Vice Chancellor, reiterated the infrastructural challenges of the UCC, particularly with students’ accommodation, hampering quality education delivery.
He said the school was working to mitigate the situation and called on the private sector to invest in students’ residential facilities to improve their lot.
He announced that the UCC had planted economic trees on 110 acres of its lands to maintain the green nature of the campus, which had been further enhanced with major road improvements.
Prof Boampong, once again, bemoaned the appropriation of lands belonging to the University by encroachers and expressed its determination to preserve those lands.
Highlighting some achievements of the School of Graduate Studies, he cited the continuous increase in the number of students, despite competition from other institutions.
He acknowledged that the increase required pragmatic and continuous adoption of new strategies to deepen teaching, learning and research, which, he said, were on course.
“We shall continue to strive to deepen postgraduate training and promote teaching and learning, research, creativity and innovation,” he added.