The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that government is prepared to take the necessary steps in reclaiming all state lands including University of Cape Coast (UCC) lands that have been encroached on by developers across the country.
He explained that, one-third of the UCC’s legally acquired land for instance had been taken over by encroachers, saying, “This is unacceptable.”
President Akufo-Addo said this at a durbar held at the campus of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) to climax the 60th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the University.
He inaugurated a number of facilities namely, the School of Graduate Studies Building, a six-storey guest house and School of Medical Sciences Auditorium and adjoining facilities.
The anniversary was on the theme: “60 years of quality higher education: expanding the frontiers.”
President Akufo-Addo said: “I am saddened with this state of affairs especially because it is happening in Cape Coast of all places, the cradle of Ghana’s education system”
He, therefore, called on the chiefs and people of the area to ensure cessation of this unfortunate activities, saying, “We must begin to see the university not only as a national asset and asset of the Central Region but most importantly also as an asset of the people of Cape Coast in particular.”
Touching on the current economic challenges, he said, graduates of UCC and Ghanaians in general, should continue to be inspired by the patriotic endeavours showed by members of the Aborigines RightS Protection Society which was founded in Cape Coast which ensured indigenous ownership of landS as they were threatened by European colonialists.
“It is this same example of patriotic endeavour, this same spirit of determination and tenacity by the Aborigines that we must summon up today to enable us navigate the current difficult headwinds that have engulfed the economy of our country so that we must come out stronger and more empowered than we were before to continue our journey towards our destiny of prosperity and freedom,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo commended the UCC for the feat it had chalked over the years and therefore charged management to ensure that the institution remain pure and unadulterated un the provision of quality academic and intellectual discourse and in finding solution to complex and far-reaching problems across borders and disciplines.
He expressed anticipation of witnessing products of the University making positive impact and building a strong and distinctive workforce in Ghana, West Africa and across the world.
He further urged management, staff, students and stakeholders to put their shoulders to the wheel to ensure further development and transformation of the University.
He noted that the achievement of UCC over the years had been remarkable as it was reflected in considerable growth of faculty, students and infrastructure.
He gave an assurance of his commitment towards redeeming a pledge made last year of supporting the construction of students’ accommodation facility for the University.
“I acknowledge the need for further expansion of infrastructure to meet current demands and support for the free SHS initiative of this administration,” he said.
He said, the current administration would offer the needed support to expand its infrastructure for the benefit of the numerous senior high school graduates who now qualify to access university education yearly.
The government, he said, would not renege on its commitment in providing quality education and equal opportunities for future generations to have a good education.
“Regardless of the difficulties currently confronting our nation, government will continue to intervene and remain responsible for the provision of free and quality basic and secondary education for all,” he indicated.
He noted that education was the key to the development of any country and said his administration’s commitment to the Free SHS remains unshaken.
The Vice Chancellor of UCC, Prof. Johnson NyarkoBoampong, in his address, appealed to the government for financial clearance to recruit additional staff to compliment the efforts of the overstretched academic staff.
The University, he said, was currently pursuing international institutional accreditation exercise and said, it would ultimately enhance the process to increase the competitiveness of UCC.
He indicated that the University was pursuing a creative path to transform UCC into a world class competitive entrepreneurial university.
The Chancellor of UCC, Sir Sam Essuon Jonah, in his address, underscored the need for the University to be innovative in the training of students in order for them to meet the changing global demand.
He urged the School of Agriculture to lead the way in coming out with better yielding crop varieties in ensuring increase in crop production.
FROM DAVID YARBOI-TETTEH, CAPE COAST