The Vice Chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa has emphasised that the vision of Ghana to attain a middle income status within the shortest time possible "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 to the KNUST 'in our attempt to address the developmental challenges of the nation.'
The Vice Chancellor continued, '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.'
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 full-fledged University in the near future.
He expressed concern about the small student intake at the Sunyani campus of the Faculty of Forest Resources Technology of the University. This, he said, was not as a result of accommodation problem, but due to lack of interest of the youth in agriculture.
He however, stated that the KNUST had made conscious efforts to attract many of the country's youth into the noble field of agriculture, such as the option of allowing students do the three-year Diploma programme and 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 FFRT, the basic problem had continuously been the low levels of enthusiasm in programmes on offer at the Faculty.
He said on the whole, the level of patronage of programmes at the Sunyani campus was a little below 70 percent, and that there was the need for the University to work hard to enhance the threshold, adding that he had tasked the FFRT, with the active involvement of all stakeholders, to find out why applicants were not interested in its programmes.
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', urging 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.