Professor Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa, Vice Chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has expressed concern about the continued small student intake at the Sunyani campus of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University.
He, however, stated that the KNUST had put in place conscious efforts to attract as many as possible of the country's youth into the noble field of agriculture, such as the option of allowing students on the three-year Diploma programme to do a two-year top-up at the Kumasi campus for the BSc degree.
Addressing the matriculation ceremony for 109 out of 167 students admitted for the BSc Forestry programme this year, the Vice Chancellor noted that despite the massive resources in terms of personnel and infrastructure at the Faculty of Forest Resources Technology the basic problem had continuously been the low levels of enthusiasm in programmes on offer at the Faculty.
Professor Adarkwa added that in the Diploma in Natural Resources programme, 32 applicants were offered admission and only 14 had registered.
“On the whole the level of patronage of programmes on offer at the Sunyani campus is a little below 70 per cent but we all need to work hard to enhance this threshold,” he said, adding that, he had tasked the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to find out why applicants were not interested in its programmes.
The College has also been tasked to put measures in place to address the problems with the active involvement of all stakeholders.
Professor Adarkwa emphasized that the vision of Ghana to attain a middle income country status within the shortest possible time “implies a high demand for higher education in science and technology based professional programmes”.
He explained that the weak technological base of the nation's economy, presented great opportunities and challenges for the KNUST “in our attempt to address the developmental challenges of the nation”.
“Considering that agriculture is one of the major wheels of our national economy, the KNUST has continually trained personnel in the fields of Animal Science, Crop and Soil Sciences, Horticulture, Agro forestry, Wood Science and Technology, Land Reclamation and Rehabilitation, Wood processing and Marketing, Eco-Tourism and Forest Recreation, Wildlife and Range Management, as well as Agricultural Economics, Agribusiness and Extension, amongst others,” the Vice Chancellor said.
Professor Adarkwa stressed that currently the Faculty was the only institution in the country for the training of middle level manpower for the forestry sector and was part of the KNUST's vision that the Faculty in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources would be nurtured into a University College and eventually into a fully-fledged University in the near future.
He advised the matriculants that “hiding under the umbrella of groups and misconducting yourself can surely cost you your certificate and ultimately your cherished career dream” and urged them to follow the grievance procedures as stipulated in the “Students Guide”.
“Any breach of University regulations can have unfavourable implications for you. Be guided by your conscience and remember that any breach of common sense could, indeed, be a breach of University regulations,” the Vice Chancellor cautioned.