President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has asked lecturers of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) to resume full academic duties and use the university’s processes to resolve any outstanding grievances.
He also charged the newly constituted Governing Council of the university to do all within its power to see to an amicable settlement of all matters currently pending before the Winneba High Court.
The President, who was addressing the second session of the 21st Congregation of the UEW, also called on the Chairperson of the Governing Council to “urgently ensure that the council puts in place measures to seal all loopholes of waste and the abuse of public funds”.
In all, 10,587 students, made up of 6,644 from the northern and 3,943 from the southern sectors of the country, respectively, graduated from the UEW.
Out of the number, 904 students received postgraduate degrees, 6,008 obtained bachelor’s degrees, while 3,675 received diploma certificates.
Recent events at the UEW
The President said while being aware of the disturbing happenings at the university, it appeared that finality was being brought to bear on the matters.
In his view, the current challenges could be best surmounted if all stakeholders acted within the confines of the law and respected the rule of law.
“Court decisions are not always pleasant, but they are, in principle, the surest way of resolving disputes. Let us not, through our utterances, actions and inaction, undermine the authority of our courts,” he cautioned.
Extolling the role of teachers in the government’s transformational agenda, the President observed that almost all modern, successful societies had outstanding results in training and economic development.
Countries such as Singapore, Finland, Korea and Canada, Nana Akufo-Addo said, had shown that teacher quality was the single most important determinant of their successes.
Plans for teachers
For Ghana to make success, there was the need for the state to pay attention to teachers, he said, adding that teachers constituted the only crop of well-trained, self-confident and contented professionals who could deliver the educated and skilled workforce the state required to transform the economy.
He indicated that the government intended to restore the teaching profession to the status it once enjoyed and make it an attractive career choice.
“Teaching must no longer be seen as a stop-gap measure or a job of last resort but as a viable choice to enter a well-paid, well-respected profession with long-term career prospects and good benefits,” he pointed out.
Accordingly, he said, the government intended to facilitate teacher training nationwide and work in partnership with the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and other teaching associations to facilitate an affordable housing scheme for teachers.
“We will also support teachers to enrol in distance education programmes to boost their capacity. This is in line with our policy of motivating teachers and rewarding their hard work in the classroom. It is for this reason that the government, from September, is re-introducing the teacher training allowances that were cancelled by the previous government,” he reiterated.
As a policy, President Akufo-Addo said, the government was going to partner the UEW and all public universities in the country to raise and improve standards, so that they could compete with the best on the continent.
On job creation, he said, it was a widely recognised fact that in order to create the hundreds of thousands of jobs needed by graduates from the country’s tertiary, technical, vocational and senior high schools, there was the need for Ghana to move from being an economy dependent on the export of raw materials to an economy of value-addition.
“We must process the natural resources we have to enable us to reap higher benefits. It is with this aim of transforming our economy that my government is determined to partner the private sector to set up strategic industries to help create jobs for our youth,” he said.
He said 60 years after independence, the progress the nation had made had been slower than it ought to have been, adding that it was time to make the bold moves that would enable Ghana to make rapid progress to transform the economy and the lives of Ghanaians.
The President said the government had made education one of its topmost priorities and that instead of revenue from the mineral and oil resources ending up in the hands of a few people, he was of the firm belief that the most equitable and progressive way of using that revenue was to educate and empower the population.
A word to graduates
The Pro-Vice Chancellor and acting Vice-Chancellor of the UEW, Rev. Fr Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni urged the graduating teachers to accept posting to rural areas.
“Be willing to accept posting to some of these universities that have been built, some of these technical universities that have been created,” he urged.
He said the graduating groups were profoundly critical human resource who would propel and showcase the UEW’s contribution to the development and progress of Ghana and abroad.