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28.09.2003 Education

Govt will support private universities to provide education

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Oyibi, (GA/R), Sept. 28, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama on Sunday said the government would provide the requisite encouragement to private tertiary institutions to enable them to complement the efforts of public ones at providing higher education, which is essential for national development.

He, however, urged the institutions to include courses, such as Science, Technology, Agriculture, Entrepreneurship and others that are more relevant to national demands, in their programmes.

Vice President Mahama said these at the ninth Graduation Ceremony of the Valley View University (VVU); the first locally accredited private university, at Oyibi, in the Ga District. The Seventh Day Adventist Church owns the University.

One hundred and thirty one students who pursued courses in Theological Studies, Religious Studies and Business Administration, received their Bachelor of Arts Degrees in their respective fields. Vice President Mahama urged potential proprietors on universities to site them in areas outside Accra and the few regional capitals, which currently have some of those facilities so that people living in other areas would also have access to tertiary education.

He also stressed the need for the institutions to turn out students with high level of integrity, discipline and patriotism.

"It is regrettable that our dear nation has been experiencing some moral degeneration over the years, " he complained. "This decline in morality is evidenced by the surge in the spread of sexual promiscuity, embezzlement of funds, rape, undesirable attitude to work, greed and the challenge to law and order."

Vice President Mahama commended the administrators of VVU for their commitment to provide intellectual, spiritual, moral education to their students, saying the holistic approach would turn out students with the right attitude in our society, which had become very permissive.

He encouraged the graduates, who included students from Cameroon, La cote d'Ivoire and Liberia, to keep firm their values wherever they may find themselves and effect a positive change in the social, economic and moral character of society.

He said: "I want you to know that you are graduating into a society that needs professionals who are morally and ethically sound- tradesmen who use accurate scales, artisans who complete their work on time and business people who do not cheat in their transactions."

Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Education Youth and Sports, said the role of private institutions was very crucial to meet the education needs of the country.

He said a survey of the intake of school children, two years ago, revealed that only 833 of 1.3 million children aged between 12 and 14 years, who were supposed to be in junior secondary school, were enrolled. Thirty six percent were, therefore, out of school.

The situation, he said, was more alarming with those between 15 and 17 years, who should have been in senior secondary schools, as about one million of them dropped out, adding that, the rate was not different for those unable to gain admission to the tertiary level.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said the government was making strenuous efforts to implement the 683 recommendations made by the government-appointed Educational Review Committee.

"Some of them have started, others are in the offing, while the rest have long-term effects," he said.

The Education Minister said it was disturbing that the government could spend only 19 dollars instead of the 90 dollars it planned to spend on each pupil, thus leaving a deficit of 71 dollars. Dr Seth Laryea, President of VVU, appealed to the government to directly support their students with the GETFUND because their parents or family members were also contributors to the fund. He spoke about academic, humanitarian other programmes pursued by the University to turn out high calibre students and to assist neighbouring communities.

Dr Laryea said with the assistance of German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, it had developed an ecological physical master plan and conducted a research into recycling of wastewater to save about 60 percent of water currently used in their traditional toilets. Prizes were awarded to graduates who distinguished themselves in both academic and extra curricula activities.

Mr Clifford Korley, who majored in Business Administration, was the highest recipient with three awards, including that for the overall best student.

Ms Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State responsible for Tertiary Education, Deputy Local Government and Rural development Minister Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey and Mr John Benam Jabaah, Deputy Minister of Employment and Manpower Development attended the ceremony.

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