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Speech Delivered by Rev. Prof. E. Kingsley Larbi, President and CEO, on the Occasion of the 8th Matriculation and 6th Graduation Ceremonies of the Regent University College of Science and Technology Held on April 27, 2013


The Chancellor of Regent University;

The Chairman and Members of the Regent University Council;

The Representative of the Vice Chancellor, KNUST (Prof. Samuel Nii Odai;

The Representative of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba (Rev. Fr Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni);

The President, Trinity Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. J. O. Y. Mantey;

Heads, Representatives, and friends of other sister institutions here present;

Honourable Ministers of State and Members of Parliament;

Nananom, Nimei ke Naa mei;

Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

The Clergy;

Members of Convocation,

Hard-working faculty and staff;

Honourable members of the Regent-Ghana Students' Parliament here present;

Graduands, friends and families of graduands here present;

Matriculants,

Members of the Press

Distinguished Invited Guests

Ladies and gentlemen:

 

Preamble

I am delighted to welcome all of you again to today's ceremony!

You have come from far and near; you have come as stakeholders; you are here as parents, guardians, relatives and friends.

We have all gathered here this morning, because, most of us, if not all, believe that in our world today, education is the doorway to the progress and prosperity of individuals, communities, and nations.  It is in the same spirit that, this morning, as we have come from various places and have gathered here, there are others, around the globe, who are, watching today's event live on the internet.

Indeed, individuals, communities and nations, that fail to give prime of place to education, and quality education for that matter, will continue to languish behind the rest of progressive humanity. 

It is this common understanding that we share on the importance of education that gives me joy.  We warmly entreat you to feel at home, wherever you are, and enjoy the rest of today's proceedings.

 

Purpose of Gathering

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: 

We have gathered here today for three main reasons:

  1. We are here to matriculate some fresh students who have enrolled to pursue various academic programmes. These students will formally be received into the university as Junior Members, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities.
  1. We are also here to recognize and confer various degrees (and awards) upon candidates who have successfully completed their studies here at Regent.
  1. In line with the Statutes of this university college, I am required at this gathering, to present a Report, giving account of our stewardship since our last congregation.  This, I will do shortly.

For the sake of time, and in line with the positive spirit of the present age, we have uploaded the full, detailed Report, on our website.  We will encourage all stakeholders and interested parties to find time to read it.

For the purpose of this gathering, I will like to highlight some few items which appear in the Report.

 

SYNOPSIS OF REPORT

Goals in Pursuit of Our Vision and Mission

Mr. Chairman, Our vision of becoming a fully chartered, world class university within the shortest possible time, remains undaunted and focused. To this end, we have continued to double our efforts towards four main areas, namely,

 

  1. The construction of our purpose-built, state-of-the-art, Accra main campus;
  2. The recruitment and retention of highly qualified academic and support staff;
  3. Providing improved systems and facilities that enhance teaching and learning; and
  4. Building of academic and industrial linkages that will increase our capacity.

 

Main Campus Construction

Regarding the construction of our main campus, we wish to indicate that certain technical constraints have delayed the funding requirement for the project.  This has placed the construction work slightly behind schedule.  We are convinced that the good Lord will make it possible for the project to start in earnest.  We are, in the interim, making all necessary efforts to ensure that all the various satellite campuses relocate to our proposed Accra main campus by the end of this year.  One of our Faculties and our Department of Graduate Studies is already operating from the proposed main campus.

 

Academic Programmes and Students Information

Currently, we offer eleven undergraduate and four postgraduate degree programmes with various specialisations.

Our Master of Science in statistics (MSc Stats) programme has now assumed full stature.  Twenty students completed all the requirements for the award of the degree last year, and have since been certified by KNUST.  They are, however, not part of today's event.  Currently we have 70 students in the programme, 56 in Accra, and 14 in Kumasi.

The year under review had a total student population of 2,278 out of which 511 are graduating today.  This leaves us with a current student population of around 1767. 

One of the main factors that have hindered our numerical growth is our multi-campus system with its attendant logistical challenges. Currently we are operating from four satellite campuses.  We are hopeful that when our main campus is completed with on-campus hostel facilities in place, we will see an upsurge in our numerical growth. 

By a sheer look at our facilities and our emphasis on quality and excellence, somehow a wrong perception has been created out there that we are very expensive, but this is not the case.  About five or so years ago, our fees were a little bit higher than most of the private universities in existence then.  Now that is no longer the case. Our fees compare favourably with the fees chargeable to fee-paying students in the public universities, and most of the private universities, in spite of our insistence on small class-sizes.  We have recently recruited a marketing and public relations manager.  We hope he will be able to help us cure this mischief.

 

Academic Staff and Publications

In line with our strong emphasis on quality, we have worked hard to consistently maintain a very favourable students-staff  ratio in almost all our programmes.  Efforts are ongoing to get additional faculty members of international repute to join our faculty.

In the year under review, Dr Isaac Ohene, the immediate past Registrar of the University of Cape Coast, joined our team as our substantive university Registrar.  Our Vice President for Administration, has since been promoted as Senior Vice President. He also doubles as the Dean of our School of Business and Economics.  Dr Kwasi Darko Ampem, the provisional head of our Library, will relocate to Ghana in October, 2013, to assume the substantive headship of our Learning Resource Centre.       

During the year under review, Dr Paul Doku, the current head of our Human Development and Psychology Department, completed his Ph.D. programme from the University of Glasgow.  Five of our faculty members are also making steady progress on their doctoral studies.  Two of them are on study leave and should be returning before the commencement of our next academic year.

One of our Teaching Assistants, Mr Anthony Adusei, who is on full sponsorship from Regent University, is expected to complete his Master of Science (MSc) in Information Security at Lulea University of Technology, Sweden (one of our partner institutions ), by the end of this academic year.  Another staff member, Mr Ebenezer Danso, who was offered a full tuition scholarship, successfully completed his internationally accredited MBA programme this year.  This prestigious programme is jointly offered by Maastricht School of Management, the Netherlands, and Regent University. 

During the year under review, some of our faculty members, were able to publish research works in high profile international journals.  These include Dr. Stanley Moffat who serves on the panel of assessors for the National Accreditation Board in Biomedical Sciences, and also in nanotechnology.  Dr Moffat is currently the Africa Regional  President of US EUROPE ASIA CARRIBEAN AFRICA NANOTECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE (USEACANI).

Other determined staff who were able to publish academic papers during the year under review are: Mr Kwaku Oppong Asante, currently on study leave at Kwazulu Natal University, SA, (speciality: human development and psychology);  Messers Kenneth Azumah, Henry Osborne, Godfred Koi-Akrofi (speciality: Computing and Information sciences); Mr George Ekeha and Richard Lartey (speciality: Finance).

A detailed information on staff publications could be found in the President's Report available on our website.  We want to extend a big ayekoo (well done!) to all of them.  We wish them well in their future efforts.

 

Accreditation, Affiliations, and Ranking

In line with our vision, we are continuing in our efforts to establish additional educational linkages with institutions to increase our capacity. Currently the University College is accredited by the National Accreditation Board, and, locally, we share active linkages with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Education, Winneba, Trinity Theological Seminary.  Our international partners include: Maastricht School of Management (MSM), the Netherlands; Clarion University of Pennsylvania, USA; Lulea University of Technology, Sweden; University of Applied Sciences, Umwelt Campus, Birkenfeld, Germany; Wheelock College, Boston, USA.  Regent University is an active member of the Conference of Heads of Private Universities in Ghana (CHPUG), and has recently applied to the Association of African Universities. The University has been consistently ranked by Webometrics among the top universities in Ghana. Our vision for the upcoming years is to strategically position ourselves in the international rankings.

 

Community work

Our community engagement has remained focused.  On 8th March 2013 we were able to commission a beautifully remolded JHS block, with a brand new computer lab, and a newly constructed modern wash-room facility for Kyenku Larbi District Assembly Junior High School.  Kyenku Larbi District Assembly Junior High School is situated in a rural community located near Suhum in the Ayensuano Constituency in the Eastern Region. The commissioning was done in the presence of Honourable Ofori Darko, the District Chief Executive for the Constituency, and the District Director of Education, Mrs Asabea Okanta.  We are currently providing accommodation for three of the teachers in the school, one of whom is our own staff.  We have mentioned previously that our effort in the school has drastically transformed the fortunes of the school. Of the students who wrote the Basic Education Certificate Examination all but one passed appreciably, something that had never happened before in the history of the school.

We have also recently refurbished a dilapidated facility to house the computer laboratory at Larteh Presbyterian Secondary Technical School, furnishing it with a built-in table which could take about 30 computers, and 30 chairs, complete with computer network facilities. The lab is now ready to receive some 20 or so computers which the school has stored.  We intend to later provide some air-conditioners and 30 additional chairs for the laboratory, when we become convinced that there is a commitment to take good care of what we have already provided.  A friend of the University College, Mr Kalim Al-Had, supported the University's initiative with 30 chairs, which are currently in the lab.  To the glory of God, we intend to commission the Lab in the second week of May.   

 

MATRICULANTS

I presume, all of you have already taken my African Studies class.  So you know what we stand for; you know our passion.  By accepting to be a student of this institution, you are voluntarily identifying yourself with the vision and mission of Regent-Ghana. You are agreeing with us that you will be a loyal member of this institution.  You are making a commitment to fully employ all your God-given faculties, through the help of God, to study diligently and to dedicate yourself to all that is required to prepare you to play a proper role in the realization of the vision of raising effective, confident, visionary, ethical leaders for Africa, and for our world. I therefore pray that as you take our Matriculation Oath today, you will do so reflectively and passionately. I wish you well.

 

GRADUANDS

Now graduands, Ayeekoo (Well done!)  We salute you all! 

It appears the battle is over! But let me remind you that you still have a world to win. You can make a difference, and you dare not fail!

You have in your hand, the power to create for yourself the kind of life you want to live, and also help create the kind of world you want to see.

Sitting among you, today, is one of your own kind.  Hon. Kwadwo Baah Agyeman, who is now the MP for Asante Akyem North Constituency (Agogo).   So you see, no matter your background, God has mandated you to have dominion.  It is our prayer that some of you will follow his example, and take up the mantle of leadership in your various communities, and make the required positive impact.

Our continent and our nation for that matter, is in urgent need of selfless, dedicated, visionary, result-driven leaders at all levels.  The need is urgent, and the cry is desperate. Our resources have not always been distributed honestly, fairly, and equitably. Those employed to manage our state institutions and state resources, are not always at their best.

Consequently, a perception has been created which seems to suggest that though the country belongs to all of us, only few people can prosper or live a decent life while working or practicing their vocations or professions in this country.  A perception has been created that it is only when we are involved in partisan politics, or are associated with certain power structures, or are involved in some shady deals, or travel outside our own continent, that we will become prosperous or be able to acquire certain basic necessities of life.  In this context, the sense of pessimism looms large.

An interesting article which vividly portrays this sense of pessimism, appeared in the Daily Graphic recently.  The title of the article is  "Acquiring a Passport in Ghana is a nightmare." A portion of the article reads as follows:

"Seriously, nothing appears to be working in Ghana anymore and that is why I feel it is necessary to get my travel documents in order.  They frustrate us when we try hard  to cope in Ghana and when we try to leave this God-forsaken country, the government frustrates us too"  (Monday, 15th April, 2013).  

This cynicism, unfortunately, is shared by many of our country men and women. BUT let me say that, in spite of our current self-inflicted challenges, God has not forsaken Ghana; God has not forsaken Africa.  The best is yet to come! And the best will surely come, if only we will do our part.  Read: Isaiah 41:17-20.  THAT IS OUR  FUTURE!  THIS IS WHERE WE BELONG; AND THIS IS WHAT WE MUST ASPIRE FOR AND WORK TOWARDS.

Our Guest Speaker was carefully chosen to reflect the faith of the leadership of this institution, and several other people elsewhere, in the possibilities that this great, well endowed nation, could offer her people. 

Over the years, a wrong perception has been created that our economic emancipation rests in the hands of nations outside our continent.  In the midst of shameful and careless dissipation and mismanagement of our national resources, our national leaders seem to have created the impression that we can only balance our national budget or meet certain national priorities only when we receive grants and donations from the so-called "donor partners;" a very curious coinage, that shamefully betrays our sense of dependence. Because of this mental disposition, we don’t seem to make the required efforts to manage our God-given resources well.

Sometimes, I am tempted to think that our politicians have failed us.  I am inclined to think that they don't have what it takes to take us to the world that we have only barely succeeded to create in our world of imagination.  Sometimes, I tend to  think that politics in most of Africa today, is self-serving. It has become a career where practitioners can make it big.  For most people, it is no more a call to service.  I am forced to conclude that, politics, as it is being practiced in Ghana and most of Africa today, does not seem to have what it takes to take us to our promised land.  But this must change!

 

CONCLUSION

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: Until we are able to adopt the type of political system that will create the kind of nation and continent that we want for ourselves, all of us must show leadership: We must brighten the corner where we are.  This, we don't have to wait for anyone to show us the way.  It is our sole responsibility!

Where there is despair, we must bring hope; where there is shameless corruption, wanton and careless dissipation of our God-given resources, we should make a difference.

We should seek for opportunities to lift people out of poverty, illiteracy, disease and filth. We should be bold, and go out there, under God, to create the kind of world that we want  to see.  For all of us, have an inbuilt, God-given capacity to prevent societal decay in all its forms.

Rev. Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: There is hope for Africa; there is hope for Ghana!  May God bless us all.