Accra, April 30, GNA - Discussions are on-going to improve conditions of service for university lectures in order to attract and retain them, Minister of Education and Sport, Mr. Yaw Osafo Marfo said on Saturday. "University lectureship and teaching in general was becoming less attractive and yet without good and committed teachers and lecturers, and of course serious and diligent students there can not be good education and without these, government cannot ensure sustainable development," he noted. In a speech read on his behalf at the second congregation of the Methodist University College of Ghana (MUCG), Mr. Osafo Marfo said there is the need to arrest the situation by making teaching at all levels very attractive, adding that government was committed to doing it. Out of a total of 155 graduates, 31 passed with First Class Honours, 56 Second Class Upper and 68 Lower Class honours. He also announced that that steady progress had been made by government for revising various relevant legislatures to make it possible for private tertiary institution access the GETFund. He noted that in view of the significant role played by tertiary institutions, the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) has launched a Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund under the Education Sector Project to be accessed by tertiary institutions, including private ones and urged private institutions to take advantage of it to improve upon infrastructure.
The Minister emphasised government's determination to foster development in all areas of endeavour from the basic to the highest levels and called on university authorities to diversify their curricula and programmes in order to meet the quality needs of the nation. Very Rev. Professor Samuel K. Agyepong, Principal of MUCG said the university was growing steadily but was being cautious and mindful of the enormous pressures to which facilities could be subjected if there was a gross mismatch between available facilities and student population.
He announced that MUCG was preparing to launch a B.Sc (Agriculture) programme at the Wenchi Campus in September for the 2005/2006 academic year. The faculty, which would host a programme in Human Ecology would also have agribusinesses centres and commercial farms at Wenchi Techiman, Ejura and Yendi.
MUCG would again pursue the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Music to offer academic and professional training in music as well as set up a continuing Education Centre in Tema to cater for workers in Tema and Ashiaman in September and would be run by the faculty of Business Administration, he said.
He said the Methodist Church, which the university sourced funding from, had agreed to provide partial scholarship to members of the church and their wards who qualify for admission to study at MUCG, adding that the first batch of beneficiaries would be admitted in September. The Principal appealed to government to accelerate the process of reviewing the GETFund Law to make it possible for accredited private tertiary institution to access funds for research and staff development. He also called for the amendment of the law establishing the National Council for Tertiary Education to allow representation of private tertiary institutions on the council as well as resourcing the National Accreditation Board to enable it to discharge its duties effectively without having to charge high fees for its services. Most Rev. Dr Robert Aboagye-Mensah, Presiding Bishop and Chairman of Council of MUCG urged all and sundry to help uproot the evil of examinations practices from society and instil discipline in the youth. In a speech read on her behalf, the First Lady Theresa Kufuor noted that it was gratifying to note that society now recognizes the great capabilities of women and the valuable contribution they were making to the development of the nation. She said it was government policy to mainstream gender at all levels of societal and governmental activities and added that there was therefore, the need to intensify the education on the massive potentials of women to see themselves as equals of men and inferior. Mrs. Kufuor noted that the passage of the Bill on Domestic Violence was expected to enhance the dignity of women at home and in society and urged men not to see the law as a threat but as a vital measure of checking abuses of the bad nuts in society who regard a woman not as a precious gem she was created to be, but wrongly as a domestic tool. On HIV/AIDS, she said it was incumbent on all to come together to strategize and determine measures to check its spread. "We need to exhibit high moral standards, and lead very responsible and sexual lives largely of abstinence from sex until marriage." Speakers at the congregation advised the graduates to set realistic and achievable goals, be selfless, honest, transparent and committed bearing in mind that service to humanity was service to God