Kumasi, Oct. 28, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday cut the sod for work to begin on a Post Graduate Students' Hostel for the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi.
The project is being financed from the 20 billion cedis allocated by the Government to the university for infrastructure development this year.
Other projects to be undertaken from the amount are a lecture theatre and two staff bungalows at the Western University College at Tarkwa in the Western Region.
President Kufuor also inaugurated the Ghana University Staff Superannuation Scheme (GUSSS) Hostel for the University. The first GUSSS Hostel built at a cost of 4.5 billion cedis was completed for occupation in the 1999/2000 academic year. The second hostel was funded from returns from the first hostel in addition to two billion cedis overdraft from the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB).
The capacity of the two hostels is 650 students and the third hostel to accommodate 800 students is being financed with a loan from the Ecobank.
President Kufuor stressed the need for leadership of public institutions to be competent and show innovativeness and initiative in their activities.
He said most public institutions relied on the government to provide all the resources for their needs and commended the authorities of the KNUST for their innovativeness and initiative to construct the hostels to improve accommodation for the students. President Kufuor said self-reliance must be imparted on the psyche of the society.
"The government should be the facilitator and partner and not the 'Alpha and Omega' of every venture or activity in the country", he added.
President Kufuor appealed to the faculties and departments of the KNUST, especially the Faculty of Planning and Development Studies to make maximum use of the vast lands available at the university campus. Professor Kwesi Andam, Vice Chancellor of the KNUST, said for the past four decades the university had been without adequate infrastructure to cope with the increasing expansion of student enrolment.
He said there were 380 foreign and 270 Ghanaian students resident in the GUSSS Hostel.
The project, Professor Andam said had immensely contributed to solving the recurrent accommodation problem on campus and also a potential means of ensuring that lecturers particularly enjoy good pension.
Professor Andam said the strategic direction of the KNUST was to accommodate 50,000 students in the shortest possible time.
He said the university at present was able to accommodate only 7,000 students in the six halls of residence; therefore, efforts must be made to provide accommodation for the increasing student population. "We have acquired loans to commence the Hall Seven project and will need financial assistance to complete it".