Bawumia: Education sits at the core of our government’s agenda

Bawumia said the quest of the Akufo-Addo government to prioritising education at all levels in the last five years is to provide inclusive access and train citizens

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has reiterated the Akufo-Addo government’s commitment to investing more in education to ensure a better future for the youth and the country.

Speaking at the investiture ceremony of a new Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies in Accra on Thursday, Dr Bawumia said the quest of the Akufo-Addo government to prioritising education at all levels in the last five years is to provide inclusive access and train citizens who will make impactful contributions to the building of the nation.

“Education sits at the core of Government’s Agenda. His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is passionate about producing citizens who are productive, problem solvers, innovators and have the nation at heart,” Dr Bawumia said.

“Five years ago, Government rolled out a bold flagship programme: the Free Senior High School policy. This programme was to pave way for Junior High School (JHS) graduates who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to further their education, to be able to do so with their more privileged peers.

“Today, Senior High Schools are graduating twice the number of students they used to, if not more. Enrolment in Senior High Schools increased from 881,600 at the end of 2016 to the current level of 1,212,255 in 2021. This represents the biggest increase in secondary level enrolment in our recent history.”

Dr Bawumia noted that following the overwhelming patronage of the Free SHS policy, which has significantly increased qualified SHS graduates seeking tertiary education, there is an urgent need for both government and tertiary institutions to adopt innovative ways of absorbing and granting easy access to the high number of qualified SHS graduates seeking tertiary education.

“Just last week, as part of Government’s initiative to ensure cost is not a barrier to access and participation in tertiary education, I launched the “No Guarantor Policy in the administration of the Students’ Loan Scheme,” said the Vice President.

“Tertiary institutions will, therefore, need to equip themselves to accommodate these students. The infrastructural development underway at UPSA, is an illustration to how tertiary institutions can mobilise, to absorb incoming students.”

A call on universities to evolve

While commending Ghanaian universities for relying on technology to adapt, following the disruption to the academic calendar caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Bawumia urged tertiary institutions in the country to continue to evolve as rapidly as the global educational ecosystem and produce the best for the job market.

“The new normal in the world of work has forced universities to respond to the demands of their students, the job market and the digital-based nature of the professions of the future, all within the context of a society undergoing continuous transformation.

“Ghanaian Universities must have a student-centered and collaborative approach to student welfare practices and must lean further towards flexible, adaptable hybrid schemes and highly contextual educational models to remain relevant in the future.”

“UPSA and other universities must become flexible, dynamic and be willing to transcend current practices to enable exploration, innovation and the creation of better academic and vocational practices to face this new world of constant change.”

Congratulating the new Chancellor, Dr K.K. Sarpong, who is also the immediate past CEO of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Dr Bawumia urged him to bring his wealth of experience to bear on his new role.

“It is my hope that under the stewardship of Chancellor K.K. Sarpong, UPSA will keep soaring and become even greater than it is today.”

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