The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has admonished the country’s universities to devise innovative ways of catering for large number of students likely to be enrolled next academic year.
According to him, it was imperative for tertiary institutions in the country to appreciate the implications of the large number of students likely to gain admission next year, on hall accommodation, lecture theatres, laboratories and other facilities.
“As you are no doubt aware, in September 2020, the first batch of students to access Free Senior High School will be preparing to enter our tertiary institutions. The success of this programme has been the significant increase of students entering our senior high schools. Our tertiary institutions must therefore expect large numbers to gain admission next year, with implications for hall accommodation, lecture theatres, laboratories and other facilities,” he emphasised.
Dr Prempeh made the call at the inauguration of the Governing Council of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Accra yesterday.
The 14-member council is chaired by Mrs Nancy Campbell Thompson, with Professor Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, Vice Chancellor of the University, as a member.
Other members include; Professor Akwasi Kumi-Kyereme, Dr Thomas Agyarko-Poku, Dr Mrs Ernestina Fredua Anto, Dr Tanimu Osman, Dr Edem Bakah, Dr Samuel Beth Kusi, Dr Awaisu Imurana Braimah, Mr Joseph Connel, Mr Ebenezer Roland Ekuban, Mr Albert Awortwi Sagoe and Mr Zaki Abdul-Hamid.
The minister said government would continue to support tertiary institutions to deliver on their mandate in whichever way, stressing that “I urge you to consider innovative means by which the UCC can prepare for this development next year and to rest assured that as government, we will support in whichever way we can.”
He explained that, consistent with the new reform agenda, the ministry had embarked on the review of the legal, institutional and regulatory framework of its agencies to ensure that their roles were properly outlined to provide a clearer understanding of their functions and strengthen their mandate to perform efficiently.
“It is in this context that government has proposed a public Universities Bill. We look forward to inputs from the various public universities for a workable document fit for purpose,” he added.
Dr Prempeh noted that adequate funding of higher education had been one of the challenges for successive governments in the country, and in line with this, government had committed itself to establishing a research fund for the sole purpose of funding relevant and sector specific research work in our institutions of higher learning.
“At present, the National Research Fund Bill is in parliament. The fund will provide significant further resources for critical research and we have approved eight centres of excellence, including the UCC,” he emphasised.
He said government was of the strong view that research by the country’s universities was critical for addressing some of the challenges confronting us as a people, and would continue to ensure that these institutions were adequately resourced and funded to achieve this mandate.
Mrs Thompson, on her part, expressed her gratitude to the President for the confidence reposed in them and pledged to ensure that the affairs of the university was steered on sound corporate practices.
She said this was the only way by which the university would be able to deliver on its mandate and become the University of Competitive Choice.
By Cliff Ekuful