Sunyani Technical University launches student support fund

BY: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
Mr Elija Mawunyo receiving the Overall Best Student award from the Krontihene of the Sunyani Traditional Area, Nana Bofotia Boamponsem II.
Mr Elija Mawunyo receiving the Overall Best Student award from the Krontihene of the Sunyani Traditional Area, Nana Bofotia Boamponsem II.

The Sunyani Technical University has launched a student support fund to support students who need financial assistance to continue with their academic work.

The initiative, which was launched at the university’s 11th congregation in Sunyani on Saturday, is aimed at reducing the incidence of deferment and abandonment of programmes due to financial constraints.

According to the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Kwadwo Adinkrah-Appiah, a seed fund had been secured through personal contributions from management and staff and students of the university and appealed to benevolent organisations to also contribute to the fund.

A total of 1,422 students were awarded various degrees and certificates, including Bachelor of Technology, Higher National Diploma in Engineering,  Applied Science and Technology, as well as Business and Management Studies.

Special appeal

Prof. Adinkrah-Appiah appealed to the government to help the technical universities to expand their facilities to enable them to be strategically positioned to absorb the large numbers of senior high school (SHS) graduates that would come out from the free SHS system in the 2019/2020 academic year.

"Government is equally entreated to consider extending the free secondary education policy to technical, vocational education training (TVET), as well as science and technology students in technical universities in order to attract the youth to study science, engineering,  technology and TVET programmes... to enhance productivity through the country's industrialisation drive," he said.

Prof. Adinkrah-Appiah also called on the National Council for Tertiary Education to grant clearance to the technical universities in Ghana to run 4-year B-Tech programmes to help absorb the free SHS graduates starting from 2019.

"As I speak, none of the technical universities has received clearance to run the 4-year B-Tech programmes," he stated and described the situation as a "a looming danger as the technical universities would not be able to contribute significantly to absorbing the free SHS products in September 2019 without clearance to run the 4-year B-Tech programmes now.”

Conditions of service

He further appealed to the government to speed up efforts in making conditions of service for the fledgeling technical universities better in order to help retain their faculty and staff members.

He regretted that some members of faculty, who got the opportunity to be sponsored by the technical universities through their limited internally generated fund, completed their PhD programmes only to resign to join the traditional universities due to the vast disparities in the conditions of service.

According to him, after the conversion of the institution from polytechnic to technical university, the management of the university commenced an aggressive staff development, through its internally generated fund (IGF) with the ultimate aim to ensure that every faculty member obtained a terminal degree by 2024, with 45 faculty members of the university being sponsored currently to pursue PhD programmes in the various universities in Ghana and abroad.

Prof. Adinkrah-Appiah also appealed to the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to release funds for the completion of the university's science park project to enable it to solve the acute office accommodation challenges facing the university.

Think outside the box

In an address read on his behalf, the Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, urged the new graduates to strive to become employers rather than employees.

He asked them to explore opportunities under the government's One-District, One-Factory policy, the Planting for Food and Jobs and the National Entrepreneurial and Innovation Programme among others.

For his part, the Chairman of the Sunyani Technical University Council, Engineer Dr Kwame Boakye, encouraged technical universities to be innovative and try new approaches as part of their efforts to bring technology and development to their areas of operations.  

A graduate from the Engineering Department of the university, Mr Elija Mawunyo, who was adjudged the overall best student, swept five other awards to the admiration of invited guests and officials at the programme.