Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Asantehene made Chancellor of KNUST

Story: Enoch Darfah Frimpong, Kumasi
THE penchant of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to contribute to educational development came to a full glare when he pledged a donation of ¢1bilion as a seed money to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) for the establishment of an Endowment Fund for the development of the university.
He announced the pledge after he was installed as the first ever Chancellor of the KNUST at a ceremony at the Great Hall of the university in Kumasi on Saturday.
An education fund which was established by Otumfuo Osei Tutu in the year 2000 after his installation as Asantehene had so far yielded ¢3billion and benefited 700 students at the tertiary level, 1,300 students at the second cycle and 450 pupils at the basic school level.
President J. A. Kufuor as well as former President of the World Bank, James Wolfensonn and his wife were among high profile dignitaries who attended the ceremony.
The rich culture of Asantes was also displayed with the blowing of Mpintin and Ntahara (traditional horns), recital of appellations and poetry and throwing of ekyem (traditional shields).
A large number of the academia and traditional rulers who were dressed in rich kente cloth as well as the clergy and people from all walks of life who witnessed the ceremony also gave colour to the occasion.
The occasion also brought to the fore, the friction, which sometimes exists between culture and modernisation. Otumfuo was decorated with an academic gown over his rich kente cloth by Nana Otuo Serebour II, Chairman of the University Council assisted by the Vice Chancellor, Professor K. A. Andam.
The attempt by Nana Otuo Serebour to decorate Otumfuo with an academic hat was not successful because the hat would not fit into Otumfuo’s head, which was already decorated with a red traditional headgear.
In the circumstance, the Otumfuo had to abandon the academic hat and handed it over to the Mamponghene, Daasebre Osei Bonsu to keep it in the meantime.
Otumfuo was unanimously selected by a Search Party, which was constituted by the University Council of KNUST to make recommendations for the appointment of a Chancellor for the university. Under the 1992 Constitution, the head of state ceased to be the chancellor of the university. Status 10 (ten) of the mandate of the KNUST empowers the University Council to appoint a chancellor for the university.
The University Council, which made the final appointment based on the recommendation of the Search Party, took into consideration the national and international status of the Otumfuo, his contribution to educational development and the fact that his office could be used to mobilise resources for the development of the university.
In his acceptance speech after the investiture, Otumfuo said the dependency of universities on national subvention was total and absolute and that any shortfall in subvention plunged them into nightmares and near bankruptcies.
He said after 50 years, the universities needed to be on their own and that they needed to be proactive and resource driven.
“They need to find new ways of doing business, of creating wealth and of generating a greater proportion of their resources and needs internally. They need to change the face of university education and funding”.
The Asantehene said one of the ways by which he would assist the university was through the establishment of endowment fund for the KNUST and pledged to donate ¢1 billion as seed money for the endowment fund.
He said he also invited the former President of the World Bank Mr Wolfensonn to attend the investiture ceremony to look at the development efforts being made by the university authorities and what he could do to assist them.
The Asantehene said he considered it an honour to be given the privilege to serve the university as a Chancellor.
“I am mindful of and proud of the long rich traditions, achievements and values of this highly respected institution”, he said.
“I have come to serve and to contribute to the next generation of ideas, innovation and creativity already simmering in the stew of this university”, the Otumfuo said.
He said he had followed the scientific discoveries that had been announced in the university and pledged to encourage and inspire even a lot more.
The Asantehene said he shared in the vision of the KNUST to be globally recognised as the premier centre of excellence in Africa for teaching science and technology for development and for producing high caliber graduates with knowledge and expertise to support the industrial and socio-economic development of Ghana and Africa.
Otumfuo said Ghana and most parts of Africa were battling the repercussions of belonging to a global entity and that huge sacrifices continue to be made by people but the returns were not commensurate with the sweat and toil of the people.
“On another terrain, loss of self confidence, laziness, lack of respect for time management, ignorance and sheer mediocrity have combined to sap the creative energies of the people, thereby making reaching the goals of excellence a mere dream,” he said.
He said universities needed to challenge themselves, government and all stakeholders of what it meant to provide and promote quality and purposeful higher education for national development.
“We need to modernise, rejuvenate and re-invent the wheels of the universities” the Asantehene said.
He said a long range plan of action, by way of Endowment Funds, joint acquisitions and investments, linkages and partnerships, internally generated resources through diversification of programmes as well as dialogue and negotiation with stakeholders on the way forward for strategies for sustainable funding of tertiary education should be the growth and development of the universities.
Besides, Otumfuo Osei Tutu said high-powered representations to government on issues of pragmatic and far reaching policies on financing higher education should become a way forward to a systematic, sustainable and secured future for the growth and development of the universities.
Congratulating Otumfuo on his investiture, President J. A. Kufuor said the Asantehene’s appointment was not a government appointment, rather it was recommended by a Search Party representing all constituent parts of the university, including staff, students and alumni.
He said government could only commend the University Council for following its own processes to come by a unanimous choice.
“I have no doubt that the role of the Chancellor as the titular head and Vice Chancellor as the executive head of the university is quite clear to all who do business with the university”, he said.
The President said the nation’s expectation was that the Otumfuo would bring his wealth of experience and wisdom to bear on the direction of the university.
He advised the authorities of the KNUST to take counsel with leadership of the other universities to claim the place of the universities in the comity of global universities.
Vice Chancellor Professor Kwesi Akwansah Andam said the KNUST had arrived at the ranks of the big league universities of the world with the investiture of a Chancellor.
“We have attained this status through a lot of hard work and vision in recent years”, he said.
The Vice Chancellor said the KNUST could now be described as a truly unique, modern university with its restructured academic units made up of compact and focused six colleges.
He commended the government for improving the remuneration of the university teaching staff and said the pay now was far better than what it was three years ago and three decades ago.
However, Professor Andam asked the government to maintain the momentum of what government and the University Teachers Association had acquired over last three years to keep to the roadmap that would ultimately enhance the remuneration of the university teachers to the level that had been agreed on.
Explaining the process by which the Asantehene was selected as the Chancellor, Nana Otuo Serebour II, Chairman of the University Council said the university constituted a Search Party to make recommendations to the University Council for the appointment of the Chancellor.
He said the Search Party after consultations with different constituents of the university community came out with a report in which Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was unanimously recommended by the constituents of the university as the Chancellor of the university.
This, Nana Otuo Serebour said made the task of appointing a Chancellor by the University Council very easy.
The Minister of Education and Sports, Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo said the government’s capitation grant would not be successful without support from traditional authorities.
He therefore appealed for from traditional authorities to ensure that the capitation policy was successful and that the governments aim to promote mathematics, science and information communications technologies (ICT) in schools was successful.
After the investiture, the dignitaries who were present took turns to congratulate Otumfuo.

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