The Premier News
It was such a momentous event characterized by intermittent cheers from the graduands who were remarkably donned in their ceremonial gowns that created an elegant atmosphere on the Accra Technical University campus. This year’s congregation had an air of uniqueness around it. The surges of joy and pride that poured out of the University auditorium after the two sessions were amazing. Every individual in that auditorium had a victory to celebrate. Collectively, it was a crowing of the achievements of both University and students in the wake of a time everyone soon wants to forget.
The 21st congregation had distinguished personalities and stakeholders of the University who have steered through to the upper echelons of academia and formidable players in the industry. Overall, Eight hundred and forty-four (844) Bachelor of Technology students were due to become graduates in the three-hour ceremony on 19th March 2022. The morning session presented graduands from two (2) faculties of the University, the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Built Environment. In comparison, the second session had graduands from three(3) faculties, the Faculty of Applied Sciences, the Faculty of Applied Arts and the Faculty of Business, whose students have completed their various Bachelor of Technology (BTech) programmes.
The Chairman of the Governing Council of the University, Dr. Wilfred K. Anim-Odame, expressed the University’s belief in strategic thinking and forward-planning in the ceremony’s opening. He hinted at implementing a five-year Strategic Plan for 2021 to 2025 of the University. This, according to him, is a well-defined road map that will navigate the University towards attaining its vision of being the top Technical University in Ghana, with a strong regional influence. He added that the Council is keen on enhancing teaching and research and collaborating with the Management of the University to complement the increase in student population with infrastructural development. He urged graduands to defy the global economic challenges with the technical and vocational training they have received from the University and be encouraged to strive for excellence to distinguish themselves from others.
Delivering the ceremony’s keynote address, the Guest Speaker, Ms. Ruth Wewura Guribie, highlighted the theme “Technical and Vocational Training for Employment and Job Creation.” She stressed the inadequate employable skills among young people resulting from the bane of emphasis on grades and careers with little focus on employable skills and entrepreneurship by the general education system. Nevertheless, she commended Accra Technical University for being an exception with its focus on training human resources needed for development. She spoke unequivocally on the importance of Technical and Vocational Training (TVET) and its capacity to produce a skilled workforce and create overwhelming wealth for the nation. As a piece of advice to graduands, she challenged them to make good use of what they have been taught and never succumb to the wrong public perception that technical students as academically bankrupt and inadequate to be successful in their various career paths.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Samuel Nii Odai, used the opportunity to give a comprehensive report on the activities of the University, touching on major achievements and plans that are in line with putting the University on the pedestal of great academic and industrial repute. Key among them is the effort of the University to develop Master’s Programmes, which will be a huge boost and bolster the attractiveness the University has earned over the past few years. He touched on some noteworthy development projects the University witnessed during the year. These included the Renovation of the University Hostel, the refurbishment of the BTech Block Library, Water forms to augment water supply and curb perennial water shortage, ongoing construction of a 5-storey lecture complex and a Commercial Hub to bring services closer to staff and students. More importantly, was the future of the University, which the Vice-Chancellor hinted how promising it is for every member of the University with a lineup of projects and developments. Topping this list is the construction of phase one of the University hospital and the development of new Master’s Programmes.
Then came that proud moment where the University boasted of its laurels achieved in the year, which was greeted with applause at the mention of each award. The awards cut across various disciplines in which the University emerged as the best such as Culinary, Electronic Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
Wrapping up his speech, Professor Samuel Nii Odai gave graduands a reminder of their being ambassadors of the University and implored them to be shining examples outside the University. He charged them to continue exploring avenues for advancement and never forget to show gratitude to those who have given them their steadfast support throughout their academic journey.
The Guest of Honour, Deputy Minister of Education, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour, congratulated graduands and reiterated the event’s theme. According to him, “The average expectation of a graduate in any part of the world, in low-income countries and advanced countries, is to get a job. But, the determination of the few who dare to venture the unknown and who dare to embrace innovation and through entrepreneurial skills invent new businesses and invent new technologies and proffers solutions to the myriad of challenges facing the world today are the ones that outstand and become successful.” He added that it is not enough for a student to go through twelve years of education and add on four years of Tertiary and still graduate without the skills deemed employable and requires something to be done to change the narrative.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Education is keen on transforming and reimagining education by giving access to education and aligning it to relevance and the trends and concepts of 21st-century learning. Hence, the transformation of pre-tertiary space and introduction of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) concepts. “As a Ministry, one of our objectives is to be able to improve upon Gross Tertiary enrollment ratio. “Ghana for the past two years has improved upon Gross Tertiary Enrollment ratio from 18% to 20%, and this has set the country on the path to achieving the target 40% by the year 2030. But, while we are expanding access to Tertiary Education, we also want to align the relevance to what will support our upcoming graduates to possess the skills not only needed in the industry but the skills needed to solve some of the complex problems the world has today such as climate change, transportation challenges and Global Health Pandemic challenges” He added. He encouraged graduands to dare to dream.
No sooner than the Deputy Minister brought his speech to an end, the graduands were verging graduate status in the conferment of degrees. As the Registrar of the University, Mrs. Sylvia Oppong instructed graduands to turn their tassels from right to left, the all-important transition in the academic lives of the graduands was completed. At last! Graduates of Accra Technical University. The ceremony was climaxed with the award of students who stood out of the many in the pursuit of their various degrees.
Zakaria Salamatu, a student from the Faculty of Business emerged as the Valedictorian with an impressive GPA of 4.8.
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