President J.A. Kufuor has given ¢1 billion to the All Nations University College, a private university at Koforidua after unveiling a plaque to officially open the university which had been given the green light to operate since May 1996.
The President who was the special guest of honour at the grand opening, said the donation was his personal contribution to the growth of the university and part of government's commitment to the advancement of the private sector.
The government has donated a 50-seater bus also to the university established by the All Nations Full Gospel Church in collaboration with the All Nations International Development Agency (ANIDA).
"I accepted the invitation to this ceremony as a mark of this government's commitment to supporting worthy private sector initiatives, especially tertiary education."
He said the new vision for the government in education was to structure education along science and mathematics to engender scientific culture and outlook in the society.
He said in line with this, the new educational reform which takes off in September this year would have science and mathematics as its central focus.
"In line with this, 15 of the country's 38 Teacher Training Colleges have been designated to specialise in Science and Mathematics education to produce the requisite numbers and quality for teachers to teach science in schools throughout the country," he said, adding that the aim was to make Science and Mathematics attractive to students.
According to President Kufuor, unless we came together to make the application of science part of our culture, the rapid development which the nation was seeking would eventually elude it.
He said for example that there was a strong correlation between a clean environment with a balanced eco-system on one hand and good health, a favourable climate and undisturbed water bodies on the other hand.
President Kufuor therefore indicated that the contemporary challenge was for schools, colleges and universities to train practical scientists who would influence society positively and facilitate the nation's entry into mainstream globalisation.
The President further challenged all Ghanaians, especially students, to take a big lesson from the theme of the country's jubilee celebration "Ghana at 50, Championing African Execellence".
He noted that past nationalists like Dr Kwegir Aggrey, Dr J.B. Danquah, Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Dr Busia greatly excelled in their fields and helped build the foundation of the country, so the youth must be inspired by the determination and excellence of these great sons of the country and do something even better for the nation.
He said currently, there were distinguished sons of the nation who were alive and who had also achieved excellence in their fields. He mentioned Prof. F.K. Allotey, Prof. D.A.Bekoe, Prof C.O. Easmon, Prof Alex Kwapong who became the vice-chancellor of the University of Ghana at the age of 39, Mr William Abraham, based in the United States, Dr Sussana Ofori Atta, the country's first female medical practitioner, Dr Leticia Obeng and Dr Konotey Ahulu as excellent achievers.
"Making excellence your hallmark requires self-discipline, hard work and understanding of the world around you," President Kufuor advised.
In his speech, the President of the All Nations University College (ANUC), Dr Samuel Donkoh said the courage to embrace new ideas, new thinking and new ways of doing things would accelerate the country's development as India was experiencing.
According to him, ANUC had introduced innovative programmes in Electronics and Communication Engineering, Bio-Medical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Computer Science.
"If students are to gain experiences from the frontiers of knowledge which would prepare them as pioneers in their respective professional fields, then research must be the cornerstone of our universities," he said.
According to Dr Donkoh, in collaboration with their affiliate university in India, Sri Rama Swamy Memorial University, ANUC was getting set to offer other innovative programmes that would create a solid foundation for technology in the country.
He said the All Nations International Development Agency (ANIDA) had opened a Women's Centre at the university, where vulnerable and disadvantaged women in and around Koforidua were taken through literacy classes free of charge.
"Single parents are provided skill training, and also, needy children given sponsorship. "With the help of SRM University in India, All Nations University will continue to blaze the trail of innovation and set new trends for higher education in Ghana," Dr Donkoh said.
The first batch of students numbering about 115 would be graduating in June this year.
The University now has a student population of 1,554. Present at the function was the High Commissioner of India to Ghana, Mr R.N. Prassad, Pro-Vice Chancellor of SRM University in India, Mr Ravi Pachamuthu, Minister for Works, Housing and Water Resources, Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyeman and Minister for Culture and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon S.K. Boafo.
The Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Daasebre Prof Oti Boateng, who chaired the function, asked the government to give loans from the GETFund to private institutions to enable them develop.