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Business News of Saturday, 11 February 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Expand your resource envelope - Prof. Nuamah

The , President of the Regent University College of Science and Technology (RUCST), Professor Nicholas Nsowah Nuamah has advised private universities to find innovative ways of mobilising extra revenue to support their development rather than relying solely on student fees to run the schools.

Beyond serving as an avenue to increase fees, Prof. Nuamah said over-reliance on the fees of students to finance expansion works and pay staff was disingenuous to the progress of the business of teaching and learning.

He told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in Accra that using only fees to run a university could lead to low motivation for the teaching staff, which then encourages employee attrition and its attendant consequences on the quality of education and growth of the institution in the long run.

To help avoid this, Prof. Nuamah, who was the first Vice Chancellor of the Kumasi Technical University, said one of his key focuses would be to find innovative ways to make extra revenue that can supplement funds coming in from student fees.

This will help ensure that the school has enough revenue to motivate teachers and in the process curtail staff attrition, which he said had been the bane of private universities nationwide.

“Even with state universities, where government pays salaries, all their other expenses are borne by the institutions. So, if you (the public university) want to maintain financial sustainability, you will need to charge appropriately.”

“With the private university, it is even worse because lecturers and other staff will be paid from students’ fees. So, my focus will be to try and find ways to move away from that single source of funding and get alternative ways to mobilise resources to support the development of the university,” he said.

Solar panels

To help make his intentions real, Prof. Nuamah, who took office this year, said Regent University would soon be assembling computers and their parts, which it will retail to the general public in return for revenue.

“We also plan to manufacture solar panels locally using local materials. So, once we are able to do that then profit from such ventures can be used to take care of infrastructure and other things.

“This way, students will be relieved of the burden of paying for everything that needs money,” he said.

If successful, Regent University, which was established about 10 years ago, will be the first institution in the sub-region to set up a solar panel manufacturing plant to assemble the plants for local use.

Revolution

Prof. Nuamah, a professional statistician, has been the Chairman of the Regent University Council for the past 10 years.

Over the period, he said he had built upon his passion for science and technology, which he said, informed his decision to take up the job as president of RUCST.

Under his tenure, he said students should expect “a revolution in technology and innovation.”

“The students should expect that their training would be more of hands-on and direct for employment. It is not going to be just reading the theory,” he said, explaining that modern trends required that students practicalised whatever they learnt.

“I believe that by the time you finish (your course), you should be able to do something, and that is what I think any science and technology institute should aim at – to produce students who can apply whatever theory they learnt.

Academia and industry

On how universities could help bridge the gap between academia and industry, Prof. Nuamah said the two needed to work together in the introduction of courses.

“Whenever you are developing a programme, you should invite the industry. In other words, you develop the programme in collaboration with industry.

“After the programme has been developed, you need to have a stakeholder’s forum with industry so that they can pinpoint to you the strengths they expect students to have. If you sit in your office and you design a programme and think that is what industry wants, you will be in trouble,” he added.

Beyond helping improve the lot of the school, the president said his desire would be to make Regent University a chartered university that could award its own degrees.

That, he said, would limit the exodus of funds from the school to its affiliates, thereby making it financially stable to implement its expansion projects.

“Also, I want Regent University to be known as a centre of technological innovation,” he said.

The school currently runs various degree and master’s programmes in science and technology business and theology.