A provision of GH¢55 million has been made in the 2017 budget for the payment of book and research allowances of lecturers of public universities, the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, has revealed.
In addition, plans are in place for the establishment of a research fund to enhance academic research in the various universities.
“Government will pay book and research allowance and in addition establish a research fund,” he stated.
Dr Opoku-Prempeh’s announcements, which was contained in a speech read on his behalf at the first congregation of the Sunyani Technical University in Sunyani on Saturday, was met with a long applause by lecturers of the university.
The speech was read on his behalf by the Director of Tertiary Education of the Ministry of Education, Mr Cephas Adjei-Mensah.
A total of 1,684 students were awarded with Bachekor of Technology (B.Tech) in Building Technology and Computerised Accounting, and Higher National Diploma (HND) in Engineering, Business and Management Studies, and Applied Science and Technology.
Dr Opoku-Prempeh stated that the government remained committed to abolishing the payment of utilities in educational institutions by students.
He said the government was aware of the disconnections by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) in public tertiary institutions.
Dr Opoku-Prempeh explained that the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and tertiary institutions, would enter into special negotiations with the utility companies to find lasting solutions to the problem.
He stated that technical universities were meant to position technical vocational education as a driver of the country’s economic prospects.
“Government remains committed to technical and vocational education as it will be the bedrock of its One-District-One-Factory initiative”.
He gave an assurance that the government would assist the Wa and Bolgatanga Polytechnics to be converted into technical university status.
Dr Opoku-Prempeh expressed worry about the gap between academia and industry, which, according to him, remains an issue of public interest.
He, therefore, gave an assurance that he would do his best to engage captains of industry to foster the right partnership to create jobs for the teeming youth and graduates.
Embargo on employment
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adinkrah-Appiah, implored the government to give the university financial clearance for the employment of new members of staff to replace retired staff and faculty members.
He explained that the employment of new staff would enable the university to have the required human resource capacity to handle existing and new programmes.
“This request is critical, since we could not obtain clearance for a single faculty/staff for the 2015/16 academic year although many of them exited from the university due to retirement, resignation or passing on to eternity,” he indicated.
Prof. Adinkrah-Appiah appealed to the government to ensure that the Sunyani Technical University received its a share of the AMATROL Equipment Supply to retool its Engineering/Technical workshops and laboratories.