Politics of Sunday, 18 November 2012
Government has provided $30 million towards infrastructural development at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) at Fiapre in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
In addition, GH¢15 million has been provided to the University as seed money.
This was announced by President John Dramani Mahama, in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Lee Ocran, Minister of Education at the inauguration of UENR.
The occasion was also used for the investiture of the pioneer and founding Vice Chancellor Professor (Mrs) Esi Awuah, the induction of the Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Daniel Obeng-Ofori and Mr Andrews Kwasi Boateng, Registrar.
The occasion also saw the matriculation of the first batch of 154 pioneer students for the 2012/2013 academic year, to pursue courses in Renewable Natural Resources and Renewable Energy Engineering.
President Mahama said government considered the University as a repository of knowledge, ideas and expertise, which could assist in turning the nation’s fortunes around, and assured the authorities of government’s continuous financial support.
He said the nation faced many challenges like insufficient energy supply to meet the current demand for both domestic and industrial use and faster depletion of natural resources and expressed the hope that UENR would rise to the challenge in reversing the negative trend.
President Mahama said much as the University was expected to have global impact, it should also have a significant presence in meeting national and global aspirations, adding ”It must therefore, be seen as a growth pole, a technology centre and a knowledge warehouse”.
He congratulated the officials inducted into office and expressed optimism that they would justify the confidence reposed in them by the nation.
Mr Ocran later unveiled a plaque to inaugurate the newly refurbished one-storey central administration block of the University to signify the formal inauguration of the institution.
Prof. Esi Awuah said the establishment of UENR was timely because of the nation’s oil discovery and the policy to increase the renewable energy resources from 0.1 per cent to 10 per cent onto the national grid by 2020.
She said it therefore, behooved the nation to develop local capacity in the oil and gas and renewable energy sector to buffet the relevant industries, assuring that the University would be up to the task of providing the critical mass of manpower for that endeavour through focused training in the appropriate disciplines.
Prof. Esi Awuah pointed out that the current trend of environmental degradation, resulting from the exploitation and mismanagement of the nation’s natural resources with dire consequences called for insightful solutions, which the School of Natural Resources would be relevant and positioned to address.
Recounting the history of the University, she announced that the National Accreditation Board (NAB) had already accredited three start up programmes of Renewable Energy Engineering, Forest Resource Management and Wildlife and Range Management under the School of Engineering and School of Natural Resources.
Prof. Esi Awuah said by an Act of Parliament, Act 830, Act 2011 establishing the University, Sunyani would be the site for the central administration, School of Natural Resources and Graduate School while Nsoatre would host the School of Sciences and School of Engineering.
She said Dormaa Ahenkro would be the site for School of Agriculture and Food Technology and the School of Geosciences, and explained that Brosankro and Mim were not mentioned in Act 830 but those sites would be used as field training stations with Mim doubling as a Distance Learning Centre.
On its vision, Prof. Esi Awuah said it placed on the management and staff, a vigorous agenda to develop the students to their fullest potentials in a holistic manner with discipline and integrity as the bedrock to handle the challenges of the society.
She implied that the knowledge to be acquired by the students would not only be for the enrichment of their minds but would also be used for the benefit of the nation and mankind in general.
“The graduates would become global leaders in their respective fields of expertise to provide innovations for the present and future. They would be referred to as Technologians derived from the Greek word Technologia which is the application of scientific methods and material to achieve a commercial or industrial objective to provide service for sustainable development.”
Prof. Esi Awuah stressed that her vision for the University was to enhance its participation in national development in the energy and natural resources management through the pursuit of quality teaching, learning and research at the highest level.
Prof. Aba Bentil Andam, Associate Professor, School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and Chairperson of the UENR Council, performed the investiture with the administration of the Oath of Office, while Prof. Esi Awuah administered the matriculation Oath to the students.