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24.09.2004 Regional News

Ghana needs more universities to produce people with critical minds

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Koforidua, Sept. 24, GNA- The Deputy Minister of Local Government, Capt. (rpt. ) Nkrabea Effah-Darteh, has observed that Ghana needs more universities to produce people with "critical minds" who would be prepared to face realities of life, if the country is to develop. According to him, the Government of New Patriotic Party(NPP) had succeeded because "it runs an open government which is prepared to face the realities of the times.

Capt. Effah-Darteh was speaking at a seminar organized by the Students Representative Council (SRC) of the All Nation University College, Koforidua, as part of activities to mark the celebration of their week on Wednesday.

The seminar was organized under the theme: "The challenges of private universities in Ghana-the way forward."

Capt. Effah-Darteh noted that the qualities of a university did not depend on the structures and campuses of the university but the quality of instructions given to shape the thinking of its products. He observed that the running of a university was an expensive business hence the initiation of efforts to amend the GETFUND law to enable private tertiary institutions to benefit from the Fund.

The immediate-past President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Mr Kwame Amo-Dako, called on private universities in the country to establish consultancy services and embark on economic projects like agriculture, bakery and printing presses not only to generate income but to also introduce work and study programmes on campus to enable students to earn incomes to pay their fees. He suggested to proprietors of private universities to introduce "internship system" whereby students could be attached to firms and industries to help narrow the gap between theory and practice and make the students effective, efficient and marketable.

A Director of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), DrPeter Ankrah, observed that despite the existence of opportunities in the country for the private sector to invest in the establishment of universities or the provision of campus accommodations, most entrepreneurs were shying away from it.

He attributed the unwillingness to some of the violent demonstrations of students which sometimes ended up in the destruction of infrastructure or "in some cases a whole building is deliberately set on fire."

Dr Ankrah called on students in tertiary institutions to resolve not to go down the "destructive path" to help change the negative perception that some private investors hold about them. He suggested to students to formulate an on-campus non-confrontational dispute settlement mechanism to be deployed in conflict situation, be it with the school administration or with Government.

In a welcoming address, the SRC President of the University, Mr Enu Kafui Kofi Akotia, observed that students in private universities in the country faced a lot of financial problems because they were paying full cost recovery.

He said if students in public institutions, where many payments were subsidised complain about the cost of their education, "then one could appreciate the problem facing the student in private universities."