The President, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, has stressed that the government will not espouse full-cost recovery in tertiary institutions.
"Providing quality education, the-cycle will never be complete without quality tertiary education. That is why the NDC's social democratic agenda does not believe in full-cost recovery," he said.
President Mills said this at the 2009 congregation of the University of Ghana, Legon, at the weekend.
The congregation was the second for the 2007/08 academic year; the first having been held on November 1,2008 for students of the faculties of Engineering, Law and Science, as well as the Business School, the School of Agriculture and the Graduate School.
A total of 4,737 students, comprising 351 diplomates, 4,135 undergraduates and 251 postgraduates graduated. Eighteen per cent of the diplomates obtained distinction, with 9, 5 per cent of the undergraduates obtaining First Class, 31 per cent Second Class (Upper Division) and 51.8 per cent Second Class (Lower Division).
The Immediate Past United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, who was made the Chancellor of the university in August last year, presided over the ceremony, which saw the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mrs Elizabeth, Mills-Robertson, graduating with an Executive Master of Business Administration (Human Resource Management) degree.
"I particularly understand how critical tertiary education is for our nation, not only by developing our skilled human resource but also building our research centres, which are very critical to our forward march in all spheres," he said.
President Mills called on the graduates to let the principles of honesty, integrity and fair play be their guide.
He said they should put their knowledge and skills to good use "so that together we can build a better Ghana for ourselves and for generations to come".
He noted that the government, for its part, would provide the needed resources to train the manpower of the country, adding that education was on top of the government's priority list as it forged ahead in building a better Ghana.
Prof Mills said one of the core principles of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government was investing in people and that there was no better way to invest in people than to give them quality education.
"Indeed, the training, research, extension and service functions of the university are intertwined and collectively significant for our national development and my administration will ensure that, to the extent possible, adequate financial and material resources are provided to optimally support tertiary education and research," he said.
Prof Mills reiterated that the government would address the management inefficiencies and bottlenecks that affected equity and quality in the educational system, adding, "We will also critically examine the utilisation practices and processes of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to improve efficiency and ensure that the fund is used for its stipulated objectives."
He said the government would make sure that infrastructure projects that were ongoing would be completed within the shortest possible time and new ones started.
The President congratulated the University of Ghana on the leadership role it had played and continued to play in the provision of tertiary education in Ghana, the sub-region, the continent and beyond. J
"The future belongs to you and the positive mental attitudes you will develop this day onwards will go a long way to determine the kind of future you will build for yourselves. As a leader, I will do all my best to give opportunities to the youth," he told the graduands.
He said it was up to the youth to position themselves properly and positively so that their full potential could be tapped.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof C.N.B. Tagoe, announced that the university had started implementing some of the key recommendations of the Visitation Panel Report.
He said they included the abolition of sitting allowances at all statutory meetings of the university, appointees to lectureship positions should have doctorate degrees and the appointment of a consultant, Dr Peter French, to assist the university to review the course-credit system which had been in operation since the 1990s and was facing challenges.
He, however, said the implementation of several policy decisions and recommendations arising from the Visitation Report had to await the promulgation of the revised University of Ghana Act by Parliament.
The Chancellor, Mr Annan, for his part, reiterated that the right to education was one of the basic and fundamental rights enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In a valedictory speech, Mr Emmanuel Nii-Boye Quarshie urged his colleagues to volunteer their ideas, skills, knowledge and physical strength to help to make society a better place.