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10.11.2008 General News

'Political violence worrying'

'Political violence worrying'

The Chairman of the Council of the University of Ghana, Mr Tony Oteng Gyasi, has said the series of political violence being recorded ahead of the forthcoming elections pose a threat to business activities in the country.

According to him, actual manifestations of violence were hampering business activities and that both local and foreign investors were increasingly becoming worried over the situation.

Mr Oteng-Gyasi,.who is also the President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), said this at the 60th anniversary congregation of• the University of Ghana on Saturday, during which the Faculty of Engineering Science graduated its first batch of 19 students.

A total of 1, 988 graduates, made up of 161 diplomates, 1,395 undergraduates and 432 postgraduates, were presented with certificates.

For the diplomates, 9.2 per cent had distinctions, with 11.5 per cent of the undergraduates obtaining First Class; 25.66 per cent Second Class (Upper Division) and 49 per cent Second Class (Lower-Division).

Mr Oteng-Gyasi said although there were no perfect elections and democratic conditions anywhere in the world, the necessary structures to police the December elections should be put in place to ensure peaceful polls.

"Threats of violence will not help the country. It is important that we go into the elections knowing that there will be a loser and a winner," he said, adding that it was incumbent on all to put the interest of the country first, since democracy was not only about winning elections but also about losing elections.

He said it was important that there was finality to election issues and cited the Al-Gore/George Bush election case which was determined by the US Supreme Court.

The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof C.N.B. Tagoe, said the university received 22,865 applications for admission and that of the 20, 277 undergraduate applicants, 11, 700 were admitted to read various programmes, with 6, 272 being enrolled on the main campus and 1, 479 at the Accra City Campus.

He said 2, 588 candidates applied for postgraduate admission, out of which 1, 352 gained admission, with 1,023 registering to pursue the various postgraduate programmes.

He said with 435 foreign students and 273 others from partner institutions on exchange programmes, the total population of the university was 29, 642 students.

Prof Tagoe said after discussions with the various stakeholders, the University Council had given approval for most of the recommendations of the Visitation Panel which reviewed the university's academic programmes, infrastructure, resources, administrative and governance structure to be implemented.

"Many of the recommendations cannot be implemented until there has been a revision and re-enactment of the laws and statutes governing the university. All the necessary documents for this exercise have been submitted to the government and I would urge Parliament to see to the revision of the university's act before rising finally for the elections," he said.

With the oil find in the country, he said, the university had been considering opportunities to contribute to the development of human and technical resources for the emerging petroleum sector of the country's economy.

Prof Tagoe said the Faculty of Engineering Sciences recently organised a summit to bring together constituents of the university and representatives of key public and private sector institutions to discuss the human resource needs of the petroleum industry.

"The long-term plan is to create a platform for the interaction of the university with industry on human resource development for the petroleum sector," he said.

He announced that 319 students had so far benefited from financial aid, while 144 had been awarded scholarships by the Financial Aid Office, adding that the total scholarship disbursement by the office increased from GH¢12,100 in the 2005/2006 academic year to GH¢45,331.52 for the 2007/2008 academic year.

Prof Tagoe said the University had allocated GH¢500,000 from its own resources for research in the 2008 budget and urged members of faculty to put in applications to access the fund.

On Information and Communications Technology (lCT), he said the university was to receive an $8.2 million concessionary loan from the Chinese government for the improvement of ICT infrastructure to facilitate the smooth running of the Distance Education Programme.

The Managing Director of Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), Mr Lawrence Adu-Mante, said the bank had been assisting tertiary institutions and that in the case of the University of Ghana it was funding the construction of a 2,000- capacity lecture hall complex.

He said with an initial projected donation of GH¢432,414 in 2003, the bank' had set aside a total amount of GH¢ 1, 264, 978 for the complex, adding that "so far a total of GH¢I,228,902 had been disbursed".

On behalf of the bank, he presented a cheque for GH¢5,O0O to support the university's needy fund scheme and urged the graduands to offer whatever they could to uplift the image of the university.

In a valedictory address, Ms Anna Abrafi Kodua, who obtained First Class in Engineering Science, reminded her colleagues to adhere to what they had learnt on campus and continue to be shining examples to others.