The Koforidua Polytechnic is to be converted into a technical university by September 2016, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister in Charge of Tertiary Education, has said.
He said the transformation is in line with the policy of the government to upgrade the polytechnics to promote technical education.
Mr Ablakwa said this on the floor of Parliament when contributing to an amendment in the University of Environment and Sustainable Development Bill, 2014, which was being taken through the Consideration Stage.
His announcement was in response to concerns raised by Mr Dominic Bingab Nitiwul, Deputy Minority Leader and Member of Parliament (MP) for Bimbilla, on why the main campuses on the proposed university are to be sited at Somanya, and in the Afram Plains, both in the Eastern Region, rather than in Koforidua, the regional capital.
To the Deputy Minority Leader, it would have been better to locate the university in the regional capital, since there is not a public university there, but Mr Ablakwa said there is a polytechnic and a private university.
Furthermore, the Somanya and Afram Plains locations were recommended by a technical committee of experts headed by Professor George Benneh, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, he said.
Also, the siting of the university in the two locations would ensure equity while satellite universities could be located anywhere in the region and elsewhere across the country.
Reacting to the position of Mr Nitiwul that all public universities began in the regional capitals before the satellites ones were established, Mr Ablakwa, who is also the MP for North Tongu in the Volta Region, said the University of Mines was located at Tarkwa, a district capital of the Western Region rather than the capital Takoradi.
Also, the University of Education has its main campus at Winneba, rather than Cape Coast, the Central Regional capital, with satellite campuses across the nation.
Papa Owusu Ankoma, MP for Sekondi and former Minister of Education under the Minority government of the New Patriotic Party, drew the attention of the House to the fact that it would have been better not to mention the locations in the bill.
He said since it is the policy of Government to establish a university in each of the 10 regions, the sites could have been left out of the bill, for a general consensus to be reached on the location before it goes into the statute books.