Tamale, Feb.12, GNA - The government has allocated 25 billion cedis as "a special foundation seed capital" to the University for Development Studies (UDS).
The allocation of the money to the UDS, which has two of its campuses in the Northern Region and one each in Upper East, Upper West and Brong Ahafo Regions is in line with similar provisions the government has made to other fledgling universities like Winneba and Tarkwa.
President John Agyekum Kufuor announced this in a speech read on his behalf by the Senior Minister, Mr.Joseph Henry Mensah at the Sixth Congregation of the UDS in Tamale on Saturday. The President said the government had also requested the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to treat the UDS as "a heavily under-funded institution" requiring massive infrastructural support to become an important partner in the human development efforts of the country.
He was of the hope that this special funding would inspire other individuals and corporate bodies who had significant business interess in the four regions to offer their contributions towards the development of the Medical School of the UDS.
"We do not accept the idea that there are no potential men and women of substance in these four regions capable of making significant contributions towards the education of the youth, who will in turn, impact positively on the development of these areas," the President said.
President Kufuor charged the University Council and Management of the UDS to explore every avenue to consolidate the constituency of individuals and corporate entities who hold a natural affinity to these four regions.
"Let us all begin to understand that the foundation of all the best educational institutions around the world has been the willingness of generations, one after the another, to sacrifice for the future of succeeding generations.
"The self-sacrifice of the chiefs and people of these four regions is the best guarantee of the long-term success of the UDS", he said.
President Kufuor emphasised that even though a great deal of material and financial resources had been sunk into the UDS, there was still a perception that the government was doing very little for the University.
He said the government was aware of the many challenges facing the university and was determined to do everything in its power to help address them.
"Any realistic approach to the solution of the hydra-headed problems that confront the university has to accept that the model of development chosen for the UDS is the most difficult among the six public universities in the country".
The President said: "What the government has on its hands is like building five separate universities at the same time, because each campus has to be equipped with a full complement of facilities for basic courses and an infrastructure for administration and services. "Indeed, all the projects that are on-going at all the existing campuses of the UDS were brought together in one place. Those who have not had the opportunity to visit all the separate campuses will begin to appreciate how much commitment the government has already made towards the development of the UDS", he added.
President Kufuor noted that these not withstanding, some people were still pressing for the immediate opening of the fifth theatre of development at Kintampo.
Reacting to these issues, President Kufuor said: "The government and the University authorities need to scrupulously maintain a sober realism regarding what it takes to build a reputable university and not bow to the false dictates of uninformed populism".
"The quality of its operations and products count much more than the quantity of campuses. Products of UDS must measure up to the standards of a fast moving world of technology and development..."
President Kufuor announced that the Spanish funded projects at the UDS had already been handed over for use while the government of the Netherlands was assisting in the development of the Tamale Regional Hospital to a full-fledged teaching hospital to enable students of the UDS Medical School to undertake their clinicals.
He thanked the Spanish and the Dutch governments for their support and appealed to representatives of other governments to contribute towards the development of the university.
The President urged the authorities of the UDS to review their curriculum to enable products of the university to meet the expectation of employers and impact positively on the aspiration of the nation, which "aspires to attain a middle-income status within the next decade".
He announced that under the "Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund," 1.5 million dollars had been provided to the UDS to start distance learning through video conferencing and other techniques. He said the government had set human resource development as a cornerstone of its national development strategy and it would not retreat in the face of any challenge.
"I will not retreat from my determination that the number one priority is education and human resource development. "From Free, Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) to dynamic growth at the tertiary level, we are resolutely determined to development our human resources as the surest way to increase productivity and incomes of Ghanaians to become globally competitive and thereby reduce poverty", President Kufuor emphasised.