The Valley View University, yesterday, brazed the trail of history, as it became the first private university in the country to receive its Charter Certificate. With this, comes a conferment of a sort of sovereignty that makes it now fully fledged.
President John Agyekum Kufuor was on hand to make the historic presentation at its 12th Commencement Ceremony where 159 graduating students of the University were awarded bachelor degrees.
Eight of them had First Class Honours. Degree programmes offered included Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies, Bachelor of Science-Computer Science and Bachelor of Business Administration.
President Kufuor who used the occasion to announce a one billion cedi government support to help the University tackle some of its development challenges said two other faith-based private institutions were also to be granted their charters.
These are the Trinity Theological Seminary and the Akrofi-Christaller Memorial Centre for Mission Research and Applied Theology. He praised the various missions, institutions and individual proprietors of private tertiary institutions for their efforts at helping the nation to meet its manpower development needs.
The President said he was particularly proud of the leading role being played by faith-based organisations in the provision of education at all levels. "Their involvement in education and other socio-economic activities, which in many instances predate our young country, is a practical demonstration of their genuine concern for the well-being of not only their members, but also society as a whole."
"I should single out the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church for special commendation, for establishing Valley View University as a trail blazer in the field of private tertiary education."
President Kufuor noted that since its accreditation in 1997, it had been developing with the requisite foresight, determination and consistency.
He said he was happy about the serious efforts the University was making to start degree programmes in Nursing and Bio-medical Equipment Technology, describing this as a welcome departure from the traditional programmes offered by majority of the private universities.
President Kufuor said the Government was convinced that private tertiary institutions deserved the state's support and affirmation. It was for this reason that it recently donated eight buses to 12 of them. He gave the assurance that the Government would continue to show its readiness to support in concrete ways and encourage private sector participation in higher education.
President Kufuor also made reference to the University's motto "Victory through Perseverance", its aim: "Service to Humanity" and the colours representing "energy, stability and purity" and told the students that there could not be a better recipe for success to personal life than these standards.
The Minister for Education, Science and Sports, Paapa Owusu-Ankomah, said participation of the private sector in tertiary education had not only expanded educational opportunities to many Ghanaians but also freed public resources to meet other commitments in the educational sector.
He urged all private universities to strive to achieve excellence in the generation of knowledge through research and to play active roles in the nation's socio-economic transformation.
Pastor Samuel Adama Larmie, Chairman of the University, said the SDA Church was at the forefront of providing services to improve the lives of the people pointing out that, it currently owned and ran 726 educational institutions.
These are made up of a university, two teacher-training colleges, a nursing training college, 11 senior secondary schools and 711 basic schools. In addition, it had provided 18 hospitals and clinics, many of them located in rural communities.
In a welcoming address, Dr Seth A Laryea, President, said the University had expanded its programme offerings from two-year non-degree programmes to 12 bachelor degree programmes.
The University now has 1,200 students including 142 distance-learning students from 18 countries. It is at present constructing the first permanent lecture hall to house degree programmes in nursing and bio-medical equipment technology. Dr Laryea also spoke of plans to re-organise the departments into schools and colleges.