President John Dramani Mahama has urged university graduates to be independent thinkers and innovators in order to help drive society forward.
He noted that in the current economic, social and political environment, only graduates who were innovative would be able to think globally and move beyond the conventional methods of doing things for their survival.
President Mahama gave the advice in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Health, Mr Alex Segbefia, at the maiden congregation of Ensign College of Public Health (ECOPH) that took place at Kpong in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality in the Eastern Region.
A total of 23 postgraduate students who had completed a two-year Master of Public Health (MPH) Programme were conferred with degrees. The Overall Best Graduating Student award went to Wilhemina T. Duah.
ECOPH was founded by American philanthropists Robert and Lynette Gay in 2014, together with Dr Kwesi Dugbatey, an eminent medical doctor from the Kpong area. It has institutional and programme accreditation from the National Accreditation Board (NAB) and is affiliated to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Utah in the USA.
"True university education should teach you to think and introduce new ideas in given circumstances. It does not and cannot teach you all you need to know. The tool your education has given you today is the capacity to think," the president said.
He noted that Ghana today needed thinkers more than ever.
"Many in industry today can hardly do any rigorous thinking towards solving the problems that confront the country. Instead of coming up with solutions that can help solve problems and unleash potential for major development, people in industry and business have resorted rather to employing unethical behaviour which in the end undercut and undo everyone," he said.
The President, therefore, called for the redirection of thoughts towards the potential people had that could lead the nation onto the path to its desired destination.
The Board Chairperson and Founder of ECOPH, Mrs Lynette Gay, urged the graduates to use the knowledge gained to transform people, not only in Ghana but the world at large.
"I do expect a return from our investment at Ensign. It is not to be monetary. I am looking into the future to see men, women and children who have been strengthened and are living healthier, longer and have quality life. I would also like to see a people who feel they are respected and revered by their government and local officials. This is what Ensign stands for — education, dedication and true ability to change the environment around you here in Ghana and throughout the world."
The Dean of ECOPH, Dr Christopher N. Tetteh, said the college was working to have the Master of Public Health degree, perceived as a career progression qualification for health workers, as a training programme in which public health practitioners would be equipped with the required competencies to engage communities to resolve public health issues.