THE RULING National Democratic Congress (NDC) has given another date for the admission of the first batch of students into the University of Health and Allied Science in the Volta Region.
Minister of Education, Ambassador Lee Ocran, yesterday told Parliament the new university would commence in September this year, with the admission of 200 students into various schools and programmes.
It would be recalled that President Atta Mills, the then Volta Regional Minister, Joseph Amenowode and other senior government officials all promised the people of the Volta region the university was going to kick start in September last year.
The promise was given at the time the enabling legislation for the operation of the university had not been passed by Parliament.
Yesterday, when the Minority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonus asked Ambassador Lee Ocran why President Mills made the promise when there was no law in place for the commencement of the university, the education minister retorted that he was not in the country when the promise was made.
Answering a question from the MP for South Dayi, Edem Asimah, the education minister said the university could now start following an Act of Parliament, Act 828, 2011, establishing the new public sector university in the Volta region.
He said the central administration and main campus was located in Ho, the Volta regional capital, whilst the second campus was located in Hohoe.
According to the minister, the university, when fully established, would have about 11 schools and institutes.
Ambassador Ocran said to ensure the smooth take-off of the university, government had established an interim council in February 2012, chaired by Professor Kofi Anyidoho, with other key members.
The council, he pointed out, had since recruited key officers for the university, including Professor Fred Binka, who is the Acting Vice Chancellor and Professor Kwame Wiredu, the Pro Vice Chancellor as well as the Registrar.
The minister added that deans had been appointed for the Schools of Basic and Biometric Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Midwifery, whilst Professors Wiredu and Binka would act as Deans for the School of Allied Health Sciences and Public Health respectively.
He indicated the university would start operations from the Ho regional hospital, where incubator facilities, offices for key staff, lecture rooms, a library and a hostel were almost completed.
Also, at the School of Nursing and Hygiene, lecture rooms, laboratories and housing facilities on the Ho-Aflao road were almost ready, with remaining facilities expected to be completed in the time for use.
According to the minister, there were also housing facilities at the medical village near the regional hospital, in addition to two regional administration guest houses that had been renovated for use by the vice chancellor and the pro vice chancellor.
He said arrangements were far advanced to rent additional facilities from private individuals.
The minister also told parliament that the university campus in Hohoe would start with space provided by the Onchocerciasis Unit and the Midwifery School of the Ministry of Health.
He added that work had started at the permanent site of the university at Sokode Lokoe, with the development of a draft master plan for the campus, clearing of access roads to the site, and soil tests by Chinese contractors for the construction of the faculty buildings to start.
By Awudu Mahama