The Regent University College of Science and Technology, Ghana’s first private university college to venture into science and technology education, held its 5th Congregation at Ghana’s International Conference Centre in Accra on Saturday, 28th April, 2012. In all, over 400 students graduated, with Miss Mary Abena Serwaa Sackey, BSc Management with Computing, being adjudged the overall best student. She took home a new laptop donated by Apostle-General Sam Korankye Ankrah, Head and Founder of Royal House Chapel International.
Mr. Samuel Chris Quist and Mr. Joseph Tetteh Quaynor, who were adjudged the Best Lecturers for the academic year by their respective schools, were publicly acknowledged. The president announced a 50% scholarship for Mr. Quist of the School of Informatics and Engineering to pursue doctoral studies in an oversea country of his choice, while Mr. Quaynor was given a full scholarship to pursue the MSM-Regent Ghana DBA programme scheduled to commence in Ghana at the close of the year.
In his address, the President and Founder, Prof. E. Kingsley Larbi, highlighted on developments in the university, challenges on the political scene in Ghana, and problems associated with the funding of education in Ghana, among other things.
The President, who is passionate about equal education for every Ghanaian, irrespective of social or ethnic background, noted one of the challenges plaguing the educational system in Ghana as the inability of intellectually capable people to attend school because of serious financial challenges.
He reiterated, “We have situations where students cannot move beyond the Basic Education Certificate Level, because their parents cannot afford it. Similar challenges are found at the tertiary level where qualified high school graduates cannot move on to the tertiary level due to financial challenges. We also have situations where very bright students manage to enter the universities but drop out in the process of time, because of financial constraints.”
Rev. Prof. Larbi said contrary to the situation at the tertiary level in the past in which there were not enough space in the existing public universities to enable them absorb all qualified high school graduates, the nation today can boast of over 68 accredited diploma and degree-awarding institutions which, combined, should be able to absorb all qualified students from the high schools.
He stressed that the challenge today, however, is prospective students’ inability to pay the required fees. He said there are those who are admitted into the public universities as fee-paying students but are unable to pay.
He continued, “There are also those who are unable to enroll in the private universities because of the same problem. Mr. Chairman, I think one research that is urgently needed to be conducted in this country, is the research which will inform policy makers regarding the number of qualified prospective university students who could neither enroll in the public universities or in the private universities because of lack of funds. If we really care about developing the human capital in our nation, then policy makers, I hope, will take this need seriously.”
Rev. Prof. Larbi noted that it is when the country’s population and workforce at all levels are sufficiently educated and trained to take advantage of new advances in technology and in techniques and organisation of production that Ghana as a nation can develop. He added that it is also true that democracy cannot be consolidated in Ghana or on the African continent when the bulk of our population are not educated and empowered to enable them take decisions regarding who governs them, how they are governed, and how the nation’s resources are managed. As a new and as a continent, it appears only few people benefit from our resources.
The President and Founder of Regent-Ghana also bemoaned the fact that in spite of the huge contributions the private universities are making to the development of this nation, the fact that the bulk of them are not-for-profit companies, and the fees charged by most of these private universities are at the same level as the fees chargeable by the public universities to fee-paying students, the private universities are seen by the policy makers, consciously or unconsciously, as privately-owned commercial entities.
He stressed that this view has to change if the nation is to move forward, adding that in countries like the Philippines where university enrolment level is very high, the private sector provides about 80%. Rev. Prof. Larbi said it is therefore his conviction that when the private universities are adequately resourced and carefully monitored by all stakeholders, they will continue to play a very significant role in our nation’s development.
On the kind of politics Ghana needs at the moment, Rev. Prof. Larbi noted that once again, the election bells are ringing, and our teeth are set on edge! He said the destiny of our nation is at stake. Asking why a time like this should cause “fear and panic,” Prof. Larbi opined that politics, in its truest sense, is about leadership seeking the mandate of the people, so that it can work for the development of the nation, and the wellbeing of the people.
He noted that to be in politics in this sense, is to be in a business that works and seeks the welfare of those being led or those we intend to lead. He lamented that unfortunately, in our part of the world, politics is understood in the reverse order and has become synonymous with lordship, job for the boys, good pay, enhanced privileges, and the winner-takes-all mentality.
He stressed that politics is not understood in terms of assuming responsibility; rather, it is understood in terms of enjoyment!
The university don asked: “Does it surprise us that in African politics, it appears, without exception, that the only thing that our parliamentarians, those in opposition and those in government never disagree on, is when it comes to their salaries and allowances?”
Rev. Prof. Larbi believes, however, that with visionary and ethical leadership at all levels, collective effort, hard work, dedication, and sacrifice, Ghanaians can transform this country and, indeed, the entire continent within a short period. He noted that things begin to happen when, under dynamic leadership, people decide to take their destiny into their own hands and work towards a good cause. “It is our ability to confront and overcome our challenges today that will create for us a better world that we all dream of. But this will require a great effort on the part of leadership. The destiny of our nation is in our hands. As a nation, we cannot allow some few, greedy and selfish individuals to take us for a ride. We must insist on ethical, effective and responsible leadership. The future is indeed in our hands,” he stressed.