President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that the government will take the necessary steps to reclaim all encroached state lands across the country.
He said he was saddened by the encroachment happening across the country, including around the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
Speaking at a durbar in Cape Coast yesterday to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the UCC, the President expressed dismay that one-third of the university’s legally acquired lands had been lost to encroachers, mostly developers, saying “this is most unfortunate and unacceptable”.
Hundreds of people, including government officials, clergy, academia, traditional authorities, faculty members, students and the general public turned out to be part of the anniversary celebration.
President Akufo-Addo asked all persons, including the traditional authorities in Cape Coast, to ensure the complete cessation of all encroachment on government lands.
He said the university must be seen not only as a national asset but also an asset of the Central Region and Cape Coast, in particular.
President Akufo-Addo cutting a tape to inaugurate the administration block for the School of Graduate Studies (right) at UCC
Touching on the current economic challenges, President Akufo-Addo urged Ghanaians to be inspired and derive strength and hope from the works of the forefathers who fought with determination to secure the lands from the colonial masters and be hopeful for a brighter future.
He encouraged the people to summon that same example of patriotism, fortitude of mind and tenacity to work to navigate the economic challenges to become stronger and empowered towards prosperity.
Free SHS intact
On free Senior High School (SHS), the President stated that the government would not renege on its commitment to the policy regardless of the current economic challenges facing the country.
He reiterated that education remained an equaliser of opportunities for all and as such the government would not renege on its commitment to provide free quality education to get all, including the vulnerable, access to education.
“Regardless of the difficulties 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 stated.
President Akufo-Addo noted that investment in education yielded the greatest dividends for which reason the government remained committed to providing access to free quality secondary education of, and equal opportunities for future generations.
He stated that education was a right for all, adding that education equipped all to contribute to national development.
The President pledged the government’s continued support for the infrastructure development of the UCC and other tertiary institutions to provide access to all the numerous qualified graduates from the free SHS programme.
He paid tribute to the founders, leadership, faculty and students of the university for their determination, hard work and dedication to duty which had brought the university glory and success.
President Akufo-Addo called on the university to build on the great achievements chalked up, chart a path of producing the needed manpower to support the country’s development and impact the country and the continent.
The Chancellor of the University, Sam Jonah, said the university would continue to adopt innovative and futuristic strategies to ensure its products remained relevant to the new world demands.
He said the UCC was gearing itself to produce students with critical analysis, problem-solving skills and stress management skills ready for the workplace in a changed world.
He charged the university to lead efforts at ensuring the success of the government’s economic and agricultural policies and accelerate the nation’s prosperity.
The Vice Chancellor of UCC, Prof. Johnson Nyarko Boampong, thanked all stakeholders and founding fathers for the strong foundation which had brought the institution great achievements and successes over the last six decades.
He urged President Akufo-Addo to consider giving clearance for the recruitment of staff for the university to ease the workload on the current staff.
The President earlier inaugurated projects at the School of Graduate Studies, a six-storey Guest house for the university and the School of Medical Sciences Administration Block.
The UCC was established in October, 1962 by the Kwame Nkrumah-led Convention People’s Party (CPP) government, as a University College and placed in a special relationship with the University of Ghana,
On October 1, 1971, the college attained the status of a full and independent university, with the authority to confer its own degrees, diplomas and certificates by an Act of Parliament – The University of Cape Coast Act, 1971 (Act 390) and subsequently the University of Cape Coast Law, 1992 (PNDC Law 278).
Established out of a dire need for highly qualified and skilled manpower in education, its original mandate was therefore to train graduate professional teachers for Ghana’s second cycle institutions and the Ministry of Education in order to meet the manpower needs of the country’s accelerated education programme at the time.
Today, with the expansion of some of its faculties and schools, and the diversification of programmes, the university has the capacity to meet the manpower needs of other ministries and industries in the country, besides those of the Ministry of Education.