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05.01.2008 Education

Tertiary institutions deserve full support of government - Adow-Obeng


The Reverend Professor Emmanuel Adow-Obeng, Vice Chancellor of the University Cape Coast, on Friday observed that tertiary institutions demand and deserve the full support of government and industry in terms of funding to turn out qualified personnel for national development.

He said: "What the tertiary institutions require of government is a deeper commitment to growth and development," adding that, the institutions in return, would pledge their full weight behind the effort of the people and government of Ghana in the pursuit of national development.

Speaking at the opening of the 59th New Year School at the University of Ghana, Legon, he said, dwindling financial resources of the universities and other tertiary institutions had led to the introduction of cosmetic ways of resource generation and which did not permit the growth and development of strong and virile tertiary institutions.

Professor Adow-Obeng said over a decade now the funding of tertiary education by government had systematically been reduced and could hardly meet 50 per cent of the funding requirements of the institutions.

He said this in addition to the dilemma of charging adequate fees from students had serious implications for the tertiary institutions and national development.

The Vice Chancellor said with adequate funding the tertiary institutions could expand and improve on their activities such as the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities, computerize their libraries and take full advantage of the knowledge explosion.

Delivering the keynote address on the topic: "Tertiary Education and National Development" he said, there was a life-sustaining symbiotic relationship between tertiary institution and the nation and that each was necessary for the life and growth of the other.

He said tertiary education held the key to national development but what the tertiary institutions required of government was a deeper commitment to growth and development.

Professor Adow-Obeng said because of the need to finance itself, the universities had drawn closer to industry, in what had been termed the "knowledge business" referring to the active commercialization of research and knowledge that accrued from it for the benefit of both the university and industry.

He said countries had benefited from research after heavily investing in it and that Ghana had to invest heavily in research by creating a research fund to service the universities and in turn meet the current development challenges.

Professor Adow-Obeng said the Anamuah-Mensah Committee Report on the Review of Education Reform in Ghana described tertiary education as one offered after secondary level at a university, polytechnic, and specialized institutions offering training leading to the award of a diploma and degree qualifications.

He expressed the hope that the topic would provoke critical dialogue among participants and eventually provide concrete recommendations for strengthening the capacity of tertiary institutions in Ghana to enhance the development process.

Mr Yu Wenzhe, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, who was Guest of Honour, said the Chinese government would dispatch some Chinese language teachers to help the University of Ghana to open the course of Chinese language and literature, starting this August.

"I hope this will bring Chinese culture a step closer to the people of Ghana, which in turn will further promote the friendship and understanding between our two countries."

He said during the last seven years, over 700 Ghanaian professionals and officials attended training programmes or seminars in China and that last year alone, China provided 40 government scholarships to Ghana, doubling the number of 2006.

Over 300 participants made up of teachers, assembly members, nurses, students, traditional leaders among others are attending the 59th New Year School which is under the theme: "Tertiary Education and National Development".

Issues to be addressed include funding of tertiary education, resourcing district assemblies for effective local governance, and increasing the utilization of ICT in Tertiary education.

The suggestions and recommendations made would inform policy makers to prescribe strategies that would make it a focal point in the effective transformation of the country into a middle income one by 2015.