President Nana Akufo-Addo at the sod cutting ceremony
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has on Friday (20 May) cut the sod for the commencement of construction for the University of Engineering and Agricultural Sciences (UEAS), in Bunso, in the Eastern Region.
It will be recollected that, in this year’s message on the State of the Nation to Parliament on 30 March 2022, President Akufo-Addo indicated that steps were being taken to turn the planned Bunso campus of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development into a standalone, independent University dedicated to the study of Engineering.
“I also indicated that construction of this campus will begin within the next three (3) months. As you already know, President Akufo-Addo does not make promises he cannot fulfill, and I am happy that we are all gathered here at Bunso to cut the sod for the construction of the University of Engineering and Agricultural Sciences, which will be a Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Agricultural Sciences, Applied Sciences and Built Environment,” the President said.
Addressing the gathering, which included the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, President Akufo-Addo stated that the world, as we know it, is essentially driven by technology.
He stated that energy, industry, agriculture, medicine and health, clean air and water, transportation, sanitation, the use, management and conservation of natural resources – all are based ultimately on science and technology.
“So, it is obvious that to be a part of this modern world, there must be science and technology elements at all levels of the development process. This means that a country’s development depends on its ability to understand, adapt, produce and commercialise scientific and technological knowledge in ways appropriate to its culture, aspirations and level of development,” he added.
This, he explained, will help shape the fulfilment of the national dream, “which is to meet basic challenges of survival, such as providing food, shelter, clothing, health and security for the people, and creating the wealth that will guarantee the prosperity of present and future generations”.
The President noted that, over the last five years, his government has increasingly implemented initiatives and programmes rooted in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), with the goal being to ensure a target of 60:40 science-humanities ratio, and also educate a critical mass of the Ghanaian population for science-related jobs, which will define their future employability.
“I am, thus, happy to note that this year’s enrolment of TVET students in Senior High Schools has reached record levels – forty-four thousand (44,000) students, representing a one hundred percent (100%) increase over the 2021 enrolment figure. Our Gross Tertiary Enrolment Ratio, measuring enrolment in tertiary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population, which stood at 18.8% as at 2021, has increased significantly to 20% this year,” he added.
When completed, the President stated that UEAS will be the second public university in the Eastern Region, which will focus on satisfying human resource demands from domestic industries.
“The establishment of this University is also part of Government’s response to the current national pre-occupation with food security. The University will provide leadership in teaching, research and public outreach across a number of fields, and will help address problems that affect our food security, and enhance future competitiveness of Ghana’s industries in a sustainable manner,” he added.
The President thanked the Export-Import Bank of Korea and the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of the Republic of Korea for providing the ninety-million-dollar (US$90,000,000) facility for the construction of the University of Engineering and Agricultural Sciences, Bunso Project.
He urged all stakeholders, that is the Ministry of Education, the contractors and consultants, amongst others, to work within schedule and within the budget.
President Akufo-Addo also used the occasion to express the sincere appreciation of Government and the Ghanaian people to the Government and people of the Republic of Korea for their continuous co-operation with Ghana, and assured them of Ghana’s determination to deepen and expand the bonds of friendship between the two countries.
“Osagyefo, Nananom, I am excited to be here once again, and, by the grace of God, I will be here again, in twenty-four (24) months’ time, to commission the University of Engineering and Agricultural Sciences. And I have the great honour and pleasure to cut the sod for the commencement of its construction,” the President concluded.