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Speech delivered by The Rev. Prof. E. Kingsley Larbi, President and CEO of Regent University College of Science and Technology on the Occasion of the Fourth Graduation Ceremony Held at the City Campus, Graphic Road, on April 2, 2011


Chancellor of Regent University College of Science and Technology;
Chancellor of Pentecost University College and Chairman of The Church of Pentecost:
Chairman and members of the Regent University College Council;
The Ambassador, Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands;
Justice Julius Ansah (Judge of the Supreme Court of Ghana), representing the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana;
Pro-Vice Chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, representing the Vice Chancellor (Professor Peter Donkor);
Dean-Director, Maastricht School of Management;
President, Trinity Theological Seminary;
Heads, friends and representatives from various tertiary institutions;
Honourable members of Parliament;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Nananom, Nii mei ke naa mei;
Hard working faculty and staff;
Graduands;
Students;
Members of the Press;
Distinguished Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I want to add my voice to that of the Chairman of our University Council in welcoming all of you to today’s great event. We are indeed grateful to you for honouring our invitation. 

Today, we have gathered here principally to confer various degrees upon some determined individuals, who, by all standards, have distinguished themselves in their various fields of study. These are men and women, who for various reasons, made a commitment to pursue higher education that will empower them for life to enable them chart their own destinies. In recognition of their efforts, we have gathered today to say, “Ayekoo” or “Well done!” to all of them.
As required by our university Statutes, Mr Chairman, this gathering also creates an opportunity for me, as the President of this institution, to present my report, accounting for our stewardship since our last congregation. This I will briefly do. The President’s Report to Congregation, which will be more detailed, will be published in due course, and it will be made available to all our stakeholders. 

For now, Mr. Chairman, allow me to briefly speak to the following issues.

Our Goal
As an institution, we have set for ourselves a goal of becoming a world-class university within the next ten years. This calls for hard work and massive mobilization of human, material, and financial resources, among other things. In line with this objective, this academic year, to increase the profile of our academic staff, we recruited six top-levelled, experienced faculty members, all with doctorate degrees. We will continue these efforts in the coming years. We are also encouraging some of our existing faculty members to embark on further studies. In line with the need to consistently maintain high international standards, we recruited a Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Quality Management. We trust that his presence with us will go a long way to ensure that we are able to consistently maintain international standards.

Mr. Chairman, as a young institution, our staff strength has grown consistently over the years. Currently we have about 200 full-time staff; about 80 of these consist of full-time academic staff, and almost 120 of them consist of administrative and support staff.

In line with our strategic objectives, and our mandate as an academic institution, we have strongly impressed upon our academic staff the need to publish. Some of them are therefore making strenuous efforts to this end. We are glad to state that during the year, some of them had their articles published in international refereed journals. Our Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Quality Management has embarked on series of workshops to equip our faculty to achieve excellence in this regard.

On our physical facilities, I wish to indicate that, currently, we are operating from four campuses. Through some collaborative agreement with the United Bank of Africa, we have recently succeeded in linking all the four campuses through WLAN capabilities. Still on physical facilities, Mr. Chairman, I am able to report that effort towards the construction of our multi-purpose, state-of-the art, main campus at the McCarthy Hill, is on course. We require about US $35million dollars for this purpose. We hope to be able to secure the required funding for the construction of the rest of the facilities to commence, by the grace of God, before the end of this year. Meanwhile, some developers have shown strong interest to develop one of the hostels facilities on this main campus. We expect to sign an agreement to this end in the very near future for the construction to commence. 

Mr. Chairman, infrastructural constraints and other factors have impeded our consistent growth. In spite of these constraints and challenges, we admitted some 680 students this academic year into our university college. Our students’ population is currently around 2000. We offer 12 undergraduate programmes with several specializations.

The School of Postgraduate Studies was established this academic year. The School now offers four postgraduate degree programmes, including MSc Statistics which was started this academic year.

Our Master of Electrical Engineering programme with options in technical computer science and micro- and opto-electronics, which we were jointly running in collaboration with the Deggendorf University of Applied Sciences, one of our partner institutions in Germany, has been temporarily put on hold. We hope to be able to restart it for the next academic year. Accreditation process for our proposed postgraduate degree programme in human development and psychology has far advanced. I am convinced we will be able to mount it at the beginning of the coming academic year. We have also signed an MOU with an institution in Norway to run postgraduate studies in oil and gas. We are hopeful that everything will go on well for the commencement of this programme in the near future. Mr Chairman, I am also glad to indicate that we are currently considering the introduction of certain technical courses at the non-degree level to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry.

Affiliations and Linkages
Mr Chairman, locally, our principal mentoring institution has been KNUST. Currently, it validates most of the programmes we offer as an institution. We have continued to enjoy a very good working relationship with this institution. We will be looking forward to a continued support and partnership in the upcoming years. With us today, is the Pro-Vice Chancellor of KNUST, Prof. Otoo Ellis, and other good friends from KNUST. Thank you very much for being with us this morning.

The programmes our Divinity Department is offering are validated by Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon. Our collaboration with Trinity has been very helpful. We look forward to a continued partnership in the coming years. I will like to acknowledge the presence of the President of the Seminary and his staff who are with him.

Mr Chairman, the internationally-accredited MBA programme we are currently offering has become possible through joint efforts between Maastricht School of Management (MSM), in The Netherlands, and our institution. Our joint efforts have been mutually beneficial. With us today at this congregation, is the Dean-Director of MSM, Prof. Dr. Peter P. de Gijsel. Prof. de Gijsel is in Ghana for two main reasons:- to present the AMBA-accredited MBA degree certificates to 17 of our MBA pioneer graduates, who have successfully completed the programme. Prof. de Gijsel, is also in Ghana for us to re-launch the ongoing MBA programme, and to also introduce another product, the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme, onto the Ghanaian market. The general public is invited to these two major events which are scheduled to take place on this campus, tomorrow at 1p.m. I want to take this opportunity to specially welcome Prof Dr. Peter de Gijsel to Ghana. I believe he will really enjoy his visit. His presence here has also brought to our midst, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of The Netherlands to Ghana. I will want to thank him for agreeing to be part of our graduation ceremony today. Sir, we are deeply honoured by your presence.

Mr Chairman, I also would like to state that other institutions with which we currently share links include the Wheelock College, Boston; Tier University of Applied Sciences, Umwelt-Campus, Birkenfeld, Germany; the Deggendorf University of Applied Sciences, Germany and Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. I am hopeful that these linkages will, in coming days, increase our capacity and create room and more opportunities for both staff and students of our College and the partner institutions to broaden their horizon and add to their specialities. 

Social Engagement
Our institution is socially active. For the past two years we have been supporting a Junior High School located in a remote rural area, called Adimadim, some thirty KM from Suhum, in the Eastern Region. We had in the past helped to complete a partially one block school building. We are currently constructing a modern washroom facility for the school. We have in the past two years sent qualified teachers to assist. Currently, we have two teachers there who are on our payroll. We have provided housing with modern facilities for some of our sponsored teachers as well as some of government-sponsored teachers who are teaching there. Our intention to commence the construction of an additional school block during the year under review could not materialise because of lack of funding. We are hopeful that in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to commence this much- needed project. An interesting thing happened this week in this remote village school. Under the leadership and efforts of one of our teachers, the final-year students who are preparing for the forth-coming BECE browsed the internet for the first time.

Mr. Chairman, in addition to our involvement in the school project, the university college is currently also paying school fees for four children, three of whom are in Senior High School. One is about to complete Junior High School. Since the inception of our institution, we have consistently provided grants to several people. Currently, 43 of our students are receiving financial support from us. 

Appeal to Government
Mr. Chairman, the immense contributions private universities in this country are making to the socio-economic and manpower development in this nation, cannot be overemphasised. It is therefore imperative that they are given the necessary support to enable them to continue their good work. In contemporary Ghana, many qualified persons are not able to gain access to university education, not because of non-availability of space, but principally because they cannot just afford to pay the modest fees that the public universities and the private universities are charging. To enable the private universities to expand, and be able to create more opportunities for more people in this nation, it is recommended the Government should establish a special bank that will focus on granting soft and concessionary loans to educational institutions and needy qualified students. Only posterity can judge the effect of such an arrangement on the socio-economic development of our country. 

Message to the graduands
Thank you for choosing to study with us. I trust you will be worthy ambassadors of Regent-Ghana.

You are going into a world that is bleeding; bleeding because of injustice, exploitation, poverty, disease, environmental degradation. What difference are you going to make in the midst of these challenges? In the context of these challenges, I urge you to live with an unbounded optimism in the future; belief that with collective efforts, the fear of God, hard work, discipline, perseverance, and courage, we can create a better future for ourselves and our children.

Further Acknowledgements
Nana Okatakyire Agyemfra II (Kubease Hene), please accept my profound gratitude you for making time to grace this ceremony with your splendour.

Conclusion

Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming. May our good Lord bless us all.