Mr Freddie Blay, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament yesterday tasked tertiary institutions to be at the forefront of the fight against poverty, ignorance and disease that had remained a scourge in the country in spite of massive efforts to eradicate them.
He told the students: "You with strong limbs, fertile minds and abundant energy should exploit the opportunities offered by your tertiary level education, to acquire relevant skills and knowledge to confront these challenges, with renewed confidence".
Mr Blay was speaking at the First International Professional Student Summit organised by the Ghana Union of Professional Students (GUPS) under the theme: “The Professional, Principal Stakeholder in Industry, Societal Development and Nation Building."
The summit brought together other professional student associations from Nigeria, Togo, Cameroon and the United States of America to celebrate successes and to dialogue to find solutions to difficulties in professional education.
Mr Blay said tertiary institutions were not only centres for imparting knowledge but should be seen as learning places to develop intellectual and professional capacities essential for national development.
He said the time had come for students to involve themselves in community development by disseminating information on development issues and to monitor progress of government projects at the local level.
"Our tertiary education should not push people into craving for white collar employment; it should have practical orientation with emphasis on the development of skills in using theoretical knowledge for practical purposes", he said.
Mr Blay said there was the need to enable young professionals to compete with their counterparts in the developed world and to devise technologies that would absorb labour gainfully into the productive process.
"To achieve this, tertiary professional institutions must adopt innovative methods in imparting education and training. The condition of service should be improved systematically to attract well qualified academic and non-academic staff". He commended the students for organising such a forum and urged them to maintain a united front to contribute effectively to national development.
Mr Ransford Addo, GUPS President, said the summit, which would be an annual event would provide a platform to share experiences with international partners and to prompt government and other stakeholders on the plight of professional students.
Ms Michelle Betz, a media consultant, encouraged the students to have mentors, saying that was the only way for them to remain committed and to have a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve in life.