Chairman and members of the Regent University College Council;
Hon. Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Education;
Pro-Vice Chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Representing the Vice Chancellor (KNUST);
Rev. Prof. John Ekem (representing Trinity Theological Seminary);
Prof. George Kankam (representing University of Education, Winneba);
Heads, friends and representatives from various tertiary institutions;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
Nananom, Nii mei ke Naa mei;
Hard working faculty and staff;
Esteemed Members of the Press;
Distinguished Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We are honoured, for your participation in our ceremony today. We thank all of you for coming.
We have gathered here today to confer various degrees upon some of our students who have distinguished themselves in various fields of study and in character.
As required by our University Statutes, I am also required as President, to present a report to Congregation, accounting for our stewardship since our last congregation. In line with modern trends, the report will be uploaded on our website for the benefit of our stakeholders and the general public. For the sake of today’s gathering, I will present some few highlights.
Efforts in Pursuit of Our Vision and Mission
Mr Chairman, our vision of becoming a fully chartered, world class institution within the shortest possible time, remains focused. For the realisation of this, we have continued to focus our efforts in three main areas during the year under review.
The University College has since June 1 moved to its main campus at McCarthy Hill. We expect our Academic Block to be completed before the commencement of the 2014/2015 academic year. The facilities here will include, over 60 lecture rooms, eight lecture theatres, offices for academic and supporting staff, engineering and other laboratories, a shopping and a mini shopping centre. The Multi-purpose block is also scheduled to be completed before the end of August. This block will, inter alia, provide examination halls, offices, health and indoor sports centre.
The construction of the hostel facility and auditorium block have also started. We expected them to be completed early next year. The construction of the other facilities will commence as soon as the good Lord enables us.
We are still making efforts to raise funding for the construction of the much needed pedestrian footbridge at the Mendskrom area. The bridge will be critical for the safe movement of people not only to and from our institution and the Jayee University College, but also for most of the people living and working around the Mendskrom area.
We are glad to mention that at long last, after series of efforts, we have finally managed to get the broken-down traffic light at Mendskrom activated. Though it does not always work as expected; whenever it is working, it provides great relief for pedestrians in and around that area. We hope the engineers concerned will do their utmost to ensure that they are made to work permanently.
During the year under review, six highly qualified academics joined our full time faculty. One of these is Professor Abid Yahya, an electrical and electronic engineer originally from Pakistan. We also received some distinguished visiting professors in the course of the year. Several high-ranking professors have registered their interest in teaching in a postgraduate engineering programme in August this year.
Research and Publication
The academic staff who distinguished themselves in research and publication in the course of the year are: Dr Stanley Moffat (3); Dr Franklin Glozah (6), and B. Andor (3). We salute these gentlemen for their efforts. Congratulations!
In line with our staff development plans we have continued to support some of our academic staff who are pursuing doctoral studies. We hope to increase our sponsorship arrangements as the good Lord enables us.
The 2014/2015 academic year began with active undergraduate students population of over 1664 out of which over 522 are graduating today. Over 460 students enrolled during the year under review. The current student population is now around 1600. Ghanaian students constitute 71 percent and 29 percent represent foreign students from various African countries. Female students constitute 35 percent of the students’ population. Majority of the foreign students are from Nigeria and most of them in the School of Informatics, Engineering and Technology. We are graduating 522 undergraduate students, majority of whom come from the School of Business and Leadership, followed by the School of Informatics, Engineering and Technology.
To ensure quality teaching and learning, we have continued to maintain a very favourable students-faculty ratio. The movement to our main campus now gives us great opportunity to accelerate our students recruitment efforts.
Against the current extraordinary rising cost of doing business, we have not embarked on any retrenchment exercise. And we do not intend to! In spite of this high rising cost, we have deliberately kept our fees low. It has however, now become imperative to make certain adjustments to keep us afloat. We have consequently decided that with effect from 2015/2016 academic year, local students will not pay 50% percent of what the foreign students are paying. The fees payable by foreign students will however, remain unchanged.
At this year’s Private Universities Students’ Association of Ghana Games, which took place at KNUST; Regent University was well represented. This year’s game covered football, basketball, tennis, swimming and athletics. We are elated to announce that the Regent Men’s soccer team was crowned the Soccer Champions. They emerged victorious in the final match which saw them face to face with Methodist University College. Regent’s Moses Raymond Oko, who was also the highest goal scorer of the soccer tournament, scored the winning goal of the match.
Mr Elikem Kuwornu, a level 400 student, won the first place in the Triple Jump, High Jump, and Long Jump categories. In all, the Regent sports team won three gold medals, one bronze medal and the soccer cup. Regent also placed third in the Volley ball games and was among the top five teams in discus throw (Men), shot-put (women), and table tennis (Men and women) competitions.
We salute all our gallant men and women for their bravery and excellent show. Congratulations!
We are happy to announce that with effect from September this year, Regent University College in collaboration with our partners, Maastricht School of Management, will commence the first ever Doctor of Business Administration programme in the country. We trust this will give great opportunity to both top and middle level management professionals in various aspects of the business world the opportunity to advance their carrier goals.
We hope to soon conclude other partnership arrangements before the beginning of the next academic year.
Hostile Business Environment
This year’s business environment has been very hostile for some of the private universities. Whereas the public universities were apparently given some kind of reprieve in the ongoing load shedding arrangements, there was nothing of that sort for the private sector. As an institution, we have had the uncomfortable experience of running our generators for several days. The incessant increment in the utility bills has also had its devastating effect on our cash flow. We thank the good Lord that we have survived by His grace. Now that we have moved all our satellite campuses to one place, we will be contending with managing one generator at a time.
Establishment of Bank for Education
We have had several occasions to speak about the central government exploring the possibilities of establishing a bank that will, among other things, specialise in funding educational activities in this country. At the moment the private universities are competing with commercial entities to fund their infrastructural developments. If this is to continue, Ladies and Gentlemen, these institutions are going to be saddled with loans as some of us might have heard from the media recently. The institution mentioned may not be the only one suffering from this fate. If this continues it might be difficult for the private universities to expand. We wish therefore to appeal to the Central government to seriously consider the establishment of this type of financial institution to assist the private universities with their infrastructural development programmes.
Protecting the National Kitty
Mr Chairman: Recently I was plying the Suhum Asamankese road, and man, it was a tortuous ordeal! And most of us here, if not all, know that it is not an exception. That is the nature of most of our infrastructure as a whole in this country. In spite of every effort that has been made and is still being made, we are not in doubt that things are not the way they should be. When we consider the unfortunate flood disaster and the ensuing conflagration, that befell us on Wednesday, 3rd June, I don’t think anyone here will doubt that we have a development crisis on our hands. We cannot therefore afford not to protect our national kitty. We should be seen to be protecting our kitty with our last breath. If we care about the need for us to live in this country as normal human beings who deserve to live in dignity, then all of us must ensure that we hold those we have elected to represent us and those we have appointed to run our institutions accountable. We should keep them in check to ensure that our collective resources are well managed in order for us to be able to push forward our development agenda. Those who steal our money must be punished without mercy. And those who mismanage our resources, must not be allowed to enjoy their freedom, for they are national saboteurs. The misdeeds of the few, must not be allowed to imprison the majority in the claws of underdevelopment.
Distinguished graduands: You are graduating at a time when Ghana is crying for saviours to lead us to our promised land where prosperity and life of dignity reign. You are graduating at a time when Africa as a whole is in desperate need of social transformers. Go therefore as the true ambassadors of Regent. Go and play a leading role in bringing about the change we are all looking for.
Mr Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: may the good Lord give us the grace and the willpower to contribute our lot to the development of our country, our continent, and our world. May God bless us all.