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Conduct research into alternative energy sources -Technical education institutions charged

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem
• Mr Peter Anarfi-Mensah (2nd left) congratulating Mr James Opare Frimpong of the Faculty of Engineering, who obtained first class. On the left is Prof. Kwasi Obiri-Danso, Chairman of the Kumasi Polytechnic Council. Picture: EMMANUEL BAAH

The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, has stated that the country’s current energy crisis presents an opportunity for technical schools, universities and polytechnics to conduct research into alternative energy sources.

She said they could also look into areas of efficient energy utilisation and innovations that would help conserve energy, as well as educate Ghanaians on how to conserve energy.

The minister made the statement in a speech read on her behalf by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Peter Anarfi-Mensah, at the 10th graduation ceremony of the Kumasi Polytechnic in Kumasi, during which 2,500 students graduated in various fields of study.

“Our country is going through turbulent times as we grapple with the energy crisis (dumsor) and its attendant power rationing,” she said, adding that “the consequences of dumsor had been dire on the social, economic and emotional lives of people.”

Commendation

The minister commended the staff and students of the polytechnic for manufacturing solar panels capable of charging mobile phones and electronic tablets and “other groundbreaking initiatives” such as cocoa beans solar dryers.

She urged the school to take a step further to patent those inventions, while at the same time ensuring that they were produced in large quantities and sold at affordable prices to the public.

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“The Kumasi Polytechnic deserves every bit of commendation and motivation as it leads in the quest to play a meaningful role in the socio-economic development of our country,” Prof. Opoku-Agyemang added.

Technical university

She said the government was aware of the polytechnic’s ambition to attain a technical university status and had even received a copy of its Strategic Plan in that direction and gave an assurance that it could be one of the polytechnics to attain that status.

The Chairman of the Kumasi Polytechnic Council, Prof. Kwasi Obiri-Danso, reiterated the recent call by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei

Tutu II, on the government to reconsider its freeze on employment and grant institutions of higher learning special dispensation for them to fill vacancies for academic staff.

He said the policy on recruitment had made it extremely difficult for polytechnics to recruit new staff or replace those who have retired or died.

The Rector of the polytechnic, Prof. N. N. N. Nsowah-Nuamah, announced the acquisition of 301 acres at Kuntenase for the relocation of the main campus of the polytechnic by next year and another 200 acres at Piase to serve as the Entrepreneurial Village of the institution.

He added that the designs of the new campus had been completed and that arrangements for sod-cutting for the commencement of the projects were far advanced.