Be discerning, bold in opinions - Finance Minister challenges graduates

BY: Emmanuel Bonney
 Mr Ken Ofori-Atta  (right), Finance Minister, addressing the graduates
 Mr Ken Ofori-Atta (right), Finance Minister, addressing the graduates

The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) last Thursday graduated 1,094 students with a call on the graduates to go out with strength and courage to help in the transformation of the country.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, who made the call, urged the graduates to be transformed by the renewal of their minds and have the courage and strength to lead in the development of the country.

The 13th congregation saw the award of two honorary doctorate degrees to the Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance, Mr Patrick Nomo, and the Group Managing Director of Village of Hope, Mr Frederick Boadu Asare.

The graduating students comprised 905 undergraduates and 189 diploma students.

Discernment

Mr Ofori-Atta charged the graduates to be discerning and be bold in their opinions, given the level of education that they had acquired.

He told them that it was imperative that they acknowledged the privilege of going through their periods of studies successfully, adding that they needed to recognise that they had been blessed, and would, therefore, become responsible custodians of the republic.

“So the future for you with regard to jobs is the most important thing at this stage. We have gone through a period where most people look to the government for jobs. That payroll is full, I can tell you that because we are spending some 60 per cent of our revenue on remunerating some 650,000 people and that’s not sustainable.

“The question really is whether the UPSA has trained you to be entrepreneurs. When you have the skill set, you do what you have to do and our responsibility is to create the environment of micro stability, currency stability and ensure that you have access to the relevant skills,” he said.

Hopes, aspirations

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Dr K.K. Sarpong, who was the guest speaker, congratulated the graduates for working tirelessly to complete their programmes successfully.

“I believe all of you are graduating with goals, hopes and aspirations. It is the right attitude to have. Without goals, hope and aspirations, there is very little one can accomplish in life.

“Equally important, however, is the need for you to acquire 21st-Century skills and core competencies that will enhance your employability and advancement in your career,” he said.
He noted that the innovative programmes on offer at the university which incorporated entrepreneurial development in the training of graduates was very laudable and needed to be commended by all.

“I have learned that in addition to the entrepreneurship hub that has been in existence for about five years now, you recently launched UPSA’s Enterprise and Innovative Centre to provide an avenue to mainstream entrepreneurship education and training,” he said.

Industry

Dr Sarpong said currently, industries searched for graduates who had more than a university degree and that they considered also life skills such as creativity, innovation, critical thinking, collaboration, teamwork, communication, empathy, digital literacy, among others, as essential skills for effective individual performance.

Those life skills mentioned and affirmed by UNESCO, he said underpinned the abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that aid in dealing effectively with the challenges of everyday life, particularly, work.

Maximising

The Vice Chancellor of the UPSA, Prof. Abednego F.O. Amartey said the university was maximising the opportunities provided by online education tools to include the optimisation of its learning management system for effective teaching and learning.

“The UPSA’s investment in technology, focused on elevating online teaching and learning space and capabilities have served us well and we will continue on this trajectory. Additionally, the university’s state-of-the-art library now included a vast array of online resources for research and reference for faculty, staff and students,” he pointed out.

He indicated that the university enrolled 8,247 new students at the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year, bringing the total student population to 18,074 and that the number included 1,687 postgraduate students, 13,434 undergraduates, 2,793 diploma students and 160 professional students.