Abetifi-Kwahu (E/R), March 27, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Saturday said the Presbyterian University College (PUC) should aim at quickening the pace of development of the Kwahu South District and enrich the quality of life of the people within the Kwahu Traditional Area. He said the establishment of the PUC had coincided with the nation's democratic dispensation including the decentralized the local government system, which augurs well for effective research-community interaction and partnerships.
President Kufuor made the call when delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of the PUC at Abetifi-Kwahu in the Kwahu South District of the Eastern Region.
President Kufuor said it behoves the leadership of the University and students to nurture and exploit relationships with public and private sector organisations including professional associations and bodies.
He said they should in addition develop a close working relationship with the Kwahu South District Assembly to promote their mutual interest. President Kufuor said the University was bestowing prestige and great opportunities on Abetifi-Kwahu, opening the door for business creation and employment generation in hostels for students, restaurants, bookshops and allied businesses.
He, therefore, called on the community to deploy the proverbial Kwahu entrepreneurial spirit to take full advantage of the business opportunities that would spring up around the University. "This way, the citizenry would benefit from the symbiotic relationship between the University and the traditional area", he said.
President Kufuor asked the University to infuse the positive attitudes of Presbyterianism notably, discipline, tolerance and honesty that manifested in hard work, humility and a dedicated pursuit of excellence in the students.
He said if trained in such a way, its graduates would be able to settle anywhere in the country and even outside and impact positively on all they encountered.
On the contribution of private universities to tertiary education in Ghana, President Kufuor said the public universities were able to admit just about 50 per cent of qualified applicants because of limited lecture halls, laboratories, accommodation and other facilities.
He said the Government was making huge investments to expand facilities in the public universities but even its best efforts still left much to be desired in the provision of tertiary education.
"This is why other providers like the Presbyterian Church should be encouraged in this direction. In the meantime, Government had decided to offer necessary support to all private tertiary institutions which satisfy the requirements for accreditation", he said.
The PUC is a multi-campus University College with campuses at the Ramseyer Training Centre at Abetifi-Kwahu; Presbyterian Teacher Training College at Akropong-Akwapim and the Presbyterian Hospital at Asante-Akyem Agogo, Ashanti Region.
It had its first matriculation for the first batch of 55 students made up of 44 men and 11 women on November 24, 2003. Courses being offered by the PUC are Engineering, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Management Studies, Science, Agricultural Sciences, Health and Medical Sciences, Art and Culture, Development Studies and Social Sciences.
NSOC 31 Social Kufuor University 3 Abetifi-Kwahu
President Kufuor commended the private universities for acquitting themselves creditably with private instincts where some of them were purposefully developing their products and taking account of the emerging local and international markets. To the pioneer students of the University, President Kufuor said destiny had placed the onerous burden on them to lay firm academic and moral foundations for the budding university. He said even though it was a daunting task, it was also a rare opportunity for them to give of their best and to blaze a trail for posterity. "Study hard by all means, but also spare some time to integrate with the community for physical, social and spiritual interactions. This will provide you with a full and rounded university education", he said President Kufuor asked the University Council, the Pioneer Principal and Faculty to let their zeal and dedication continue to be the characterise their work. "That way, I have no doubt that this university will grow and make invaluable contribution to the society and nation", he said. President Kufuor on behalf of the Government pledged a 50-seater bus and a pick-up for the University.
The Right-Reverend Dr Sam Prempeh, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, said the University was established in response to the challenge for high student demand for tertiary education in Ghana, erosion of moral and ethical values and the low standard of education.
He said it would not only be beneficial to the Church but the entire nation and appealed for more financial support for the University. Rt-Rev Dr Prempeh said the Church had established a two billion cedis endowment fund for the University since 1998 and appealed to the university authorities to be innovative to find means and resources to sustain and maintain it.
On behalf of the Church, Rt-Rev Dr Prempeh pledged one billion cedis to the University.
Professor Kofi Sraku-Lartey, the First Principal of the University, who was inducted into office, said more assistance was required for it but with determination, it could achieve its objectives. He said the University Authorities had prepared a strategic plan to develop and introduce new subjects such as mathematics and other sciences.
The Principal said the Church had so far spent about four billion cedis on the University and pledged their determination to develop a unique university based on the Presbyterian discipline of high moral standards to make great impact on the society. 2