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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

STEM Universities For 5 New Regions

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia interacting with Fred McBagonluri, President, Academic City University College at the inauguration of the facility. With them is Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (left), Global Peace Ambassador

GOVERNMENT HAS scheduled the establishment of new universities for five out of the six newly-created regions.

The regions include Western North, Savannah, North East, Ahafo, and Oti regions.

Vice President Bawumia, who dropped the hint yesterday, said the new universities will focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

This was when he inaugurated the Academic City University College in Accra.

He recalled an initiative taken by the university, when COVID-19 was at its peak in the year 2020, to develop a less expensive ventilator.

“It was rather impressive to see a university that was only two years old at the time tackle such an innovative and impactful project,” he said.

The Vice President, therefore, expressed the hope that the project, which is currently going through  appropriate tests and permissions, will soon be available in health facilities across the country to improve healthcare.

“I say, well done for this accomplishment!”, was how he complimented their effort.

He took the opportunity to commend Academic City for being the first institution in the region to offer a bachelor’s degree programme in Artificial Intelligence and other forward-thinking programmes, such as Robotics and Biomedical Engineering.

“It has only been four years since the Academic City University opened its doors, and it has already assumed a pivotal position in reshaping higher education in Ghana and the sub-region,” a feat he said astounds him beyond measure.

Even though there is public argument that automation and digitisation might result in a jobless future as more robots replace the manpower demands of companies, Dr. Bawumia said recent studies have shown that this argument was unfounded.

“For example, 2019 studies by Eurofound in Europe found that ‘highly digitalised’ establishments with high use of robots and other digital technology increased their staff numbers in the three years preceding the survey, compared with establishments with limited digitalisation,” he insisted.

Dr. Bawumia was of the view that “the successful economic transformation of every nation in the 21st century would significantly rely on the provision of tertiary education in digital and information technology.”

That, he said, is responsible for the growing global demand for high-quality and relevant tertiary education, which concentrates on teaching the youth problem-solving skills by harnessing the various human and technology resources at their disposal.

In Ghana, he noted that the provision of relevant tertiary education remains a key consideration on the country’s development agenda for obvious reasons.

That, he said, is the reason higher education institutions, both public and private, are encouraged to provide graduates with job-relevant skills in order to meet the demands of the job market.

“This is necessary to ensure accelerated industrial growth, which will improve Ghanaians’ living conditions and contribute and enhance economic growth,” he emphasised.

The Vice President was thus convinced that “the vision of Academic City is not only in line with the government’s visions and our goals but also in tune with the global human resources demands,” saying “the establishment of Academic City to provide these innovative programmes that will churn out well-equipped graduates to become relevant and competitive in the job market cannot be overemphasised.”

To this end, he assured that “the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would continue to foster and support the partnership between the government, our universities, research institutions, and the industry at large to actualise its digitisation goal.”

“Through the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, the Government of Ghana is committed to adopting a coherent, well-articulated, and holistic policy framework that would enable our tertiary education system to meet the needs of the learning society and knowledge-driven economy we want,” he emphasised.

Global Peace Ambassador, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who was the guest speaker, was happy about the posture of government as well as the business environment, which he said made the country a good place to do business.

He stressed the importance of education in the development process of every country, and stated that taking a cue from the effects of the recent pandemic, there is the need for the young population to be mentally strong.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Dev Varyani, called on government to support all the serious players in the private tertiary education.

The President of the Academic City University, Prof. Fred McBagonluri, for his part, was hopeful that the “ACity” would create the required platform and opportunities for more people to progress.

BY Charles Takyi-Boadu

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