Govt provides $30m to Univ of Energy and Natural Resources

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, made this known in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Education, Mr Lee Ocran, at the inauguration of the university in Sunyani on Saturday.

The inauguration was also used for the investiture and induction of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mrs Esi Awuah; the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniel Obeng-Ofori, and the Registrar, Mr Andrews Kwesi Boateng.

Matriculation was held for the first intake of 154 students to pursue different programmes in engineering and natural resources.

The vice-chancellor and her team were inducted into office by the Chairman of the UENR Council, Professor Aba Bentil Andam.

The establishment of the university is a fulfilment of a manifesto promise made by the late President John Evans Atta Mills during the 2008 electioneering that he would establish two new public universities in the Brong Ahafo and the Volta regions.

The UENR has five schools — Engineering, Natural Resources, Sciences, Agriculture and Food Technology, Geosciences — as well as the Graduate School of Management and Sustainable Development.

For now, the university has begun with the schools of Engineering and Natural Resources.

The Sunyani municipality will host the Central Administration, the School of Natural Resources and the Graduate School, while Nsoatre will host the schools of Sciences and Engineering, with Dormaa Ahenkro playing host to the schools of Agriculture and Food Technology and Geosciences.

Brosankro and Mim  will be used as field training stations, with Mim becoming a distance learning centre.

 President Mahama pledged the continuous support of the government to the university and underscored the important role that the UENR would play in the socio-economic development of the country.

He said the institution was named the University of Energy and Natural Resources to help address the challenges faced by the nation in the energy sector and the fast depletion of the natural resources of the country.

He, therefore, tasked the authorities to work towards that goal.

“Much as I expect the university to have a global impact, it should also have a significant presence in meeting national and local aspirations. The UENR must, therefore, be seen as a growth pole, a technology centre and a knowledge warehouse. The region and, of course, the entire country must feel the impact of the existence of this university,” he said.

The President congratulated the vice-chancellor and her team on assumption of such high offices and expressed the hope that they would justify the confidence the whole nation had reposed in them to steer the affairs of the university.

Prof Mrs Awuah paid a glowing tribute to late President Mills for his vision to establish a public university, saying the UENR could not have been established at a better time than now when Ghana had found oil and there was a policy to increase the renewable energy resource from 0.1 per cent to 10 per cent by 2020.

“Our university will be up to the task of providing the critical mass of manpower for this endeavour through focused training in the appropriate disciplines. Besides, the current trend of environmental degradation resulting from the exploitation and mismanagement of the nation’s natural resources, with dire consequences, calls for insightful solutions,” she stated.

Prof Mrs Awuah expressed her appreciation to all who, in diverse ways, helped to bring the university into fruition, particularly the chiefs and people of the Brong Ahafo Region and the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, as well as  the Dormaa, Nsoatre, Fiapre and Mim traditional councils for releasing land to the university.

Among the dignitaries who graced the occasion were the clergy, some traditional rulers and vice-chancellors of public universities, notable among them being the Most Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana; the Dormaahene, Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyeman Badu II, and the Mimhene, Nana Yaw Agyei II, both members of the UENR Council, and Prof William Otoo Ellis, the Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

Story: Samuel Duodu