President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday commissioned the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, located at Somanya, in the Eastern Region, with a call on the management to provide strategic leadership on environmental and sustainability issues. It is the first public university in the Eastern Region.
He also cut sod for the commencement of construction of Phase Two of the University.
According to the President, the university, funded through the Italian Export Credit Agency (SACE) and the German bank, Deutsche Bank, is yet another example of the nation’s commitment to providing quality education and skills training for the Ghanaian people.
“Indeed, this is the first university in the country with the mandate to provide higher education, research and disseminate knowledge on matters of sustainable development, the protection of the environment, and a focus on developing agri-business,” he added.
He continued, “At a time when the world’s attention is focused on the attainment of the seventeen (17) United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, for which I currently serve as co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates, the establishment of UESD could not have come at a more opportune moment in our nation’s history”.
Ghana is confronted with issues of deforestation, coastal and marine resource degradation, destruction of our biodiversity, climate change, pollution, sanitation, and the phenomenon of illegal mining. The President is hopeful that UESD “will provide strategic leadership on environmental and sustainability issues, and grow quickly to become a centre of excellence in teaching and research in this very important niche area, not only in the country, but also on the continent and beyond”.
The Phase One facilities commissioned include a lecture hall for the School of Natural and Environmental Science; a multi-purpose auditorium for the School of Natural and Environmental Science; a laboratory building for the School of Agriculture and Agro-Entrepreneurship Development; faculty offices (administration block) for the School of Agriculture and Agro-Entrepreneurship Development; Vice Chancellor’s residency; Pro-Vice Chancellor’s residency; and key officers’ residencies.
The President indicated that GETFund had released money, through the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), for the payment of compensation to the original land owners, adding that “I have been assured that the outstanding amounts will be settled within the next two weeks”.
Following the completion of this process, President Akufo-Addo noted, the stage is now set for the rollout of Phase Two of the university, which will involve the provision of the following facilities: lecture halls; main library; laboratory; football pitch; handball/basketball court; badminton court; tennis court; and a tartan track.
“The contract for Phase Two was signed on 6th May, 2020. It is a turnkey contract agreement with M/S Contracta, valued at forty-nine million, eight hundred and ninety-one thousand, ninety-eight euros (€49,891,098.00), to be completed within thirty (30) months of signature of the agreement,” he stressed.
The President also announced that Government, through the Ministry of Finance, had granted financial clearance to the university to recruit an initial 300 staff to enable its smooth take-off.
“The Interim Council is, moreover, expected to begin recruitment of its first batch of undergraduate students for the 2020/2021 academic year. I assure you that Government will continue to do all it can to help this University discharge its mandate, and grow to become a centre of excellence,” he said.
The Ministry of Education, acting through the National Council for Tertiary Education, is currently in the process of providing vital logistical support to university because of the government’s commitment to provide seed money to allow it meet some of its most urgent operational needs.
Whilst thanking the project contractor, Messrs Contracta Costruzioni, for their commitment to the assignment, the President was confident that the next phase of the project will be carried out on time and on budget. This, he said, will ensure that the university have the full complement of facilities to help it maximise its potential to deliver quality teaching and learning, as well as cutting-edge research.
“Enhancing our nation’s human resource is key to the development and transformation of our nation. An education that will produce dedicated, determined and disciplined graduates, who will be eager and willing to participate in developing our beloved Ghana, and to become her patriotic future citizens, remains our objective,” he added.
Credit: Daily Statesman