Mr Speaker, I know that at the appropriate time, the appropriate amendment would be brought forth, to make this important issue part of the legislation. This is because the Committee has clearly stated it as part of the background for the establish- ment of this University. Therefore, we would have to find space for it as we start the process of the enactment, so that it becomes mandatory for managers of the University to pay due attention when it comes to local content.
Mr Speaker, my second point has to do with resources. I heard two of my Hon Colleagues drawing our attention to the need for this University to be well resourced. By saying so, the call is on Government to make sure that the University is adequately resourced.
Mr Speaker, we are aware that our universities retain 100 per cent of their Internally Generated Funds (IGF). In many cases, we realised that a university may not have sufficient lecture halls, lecturers may not have offices and ICT centres may not be available. Despite these circumstances however, huge contracts are awarded for the construction of shopping malls. These things happen, and it creates an impression of misplaced priorities. Therefore obviously, there would be challenge when it comes to providing this University with adequate resources.
Mr Speaker, Government cannot have it all. So, as we enact this Bill, we would need to draw the attention of the managers of our universities to the fact that it is not about expanding or coming out with ambitious projects, but sticking to their core mandates. They could be ambitious. This is because it is necessary to be ambitious, but would they be able to interlock their ambitions with their core mandates? If not, they would waste resources, and people would start to pose questions.
Mr Speaker, if we go to our traditional universities and try to audit their activities, we would find that there are real problems there. I hope that the universities listen to us. I also hope that this University would have a new focus when it is brought into being.
Mr Speaker, on my third point; apart from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST); maybe, I have forgotten or have not read much, but do we not have many more Ghanaians, who have served this country, be it in the educational sector, the economic sector; businessmen, or politicians; people who have contributed towards the socio-economic growth of this country, either pre-independence or post- independence? Are we really making our country proud? Are we
really serving any notice, or giving some inspiration for people to serve this country?
We do not have the courage to name universities after people, who have made it for this country. They could be in the area of football; sports, or whatever. The mere recognition is sufficient to inspire somebody else to serve his country. Therefore, I hope an Hon Member, the Ministry or somebody else would be bold, even as we consider this Bill, to come up with a name.
There would always be a debate as to why one person is chosen over another because of our politics, but it is part of it. Therefore we would have to consider that seriously because we cannot continue like that.
Mr Speaker, in 2015 to 2016, we had the University of Health and Allied Sciences. We had another one in Ho, and had our polytechnics, which were turned into technical universities, but we were not bold enough to name them properly. I therefore hope that the trend would change.
Mr Speaker, my last point has to do with the seeming polarisation in academia. If we read paragraph 3 on page 2 of your Committee's Report, it says, and with your permission, I quote:
“Apart from training and producing the required man- power for industries in the country, universities also serve as a platform, to conduct research and propose innovative solutions to existing and emerging problems.”
Mr Speaker, if we would want to propose innovative solutions or create a platform for research, then we should be ready to tolerate divergent views.
Mr Speaker, a university should be a place where nobody should be afraid to speak his mind.
Means of promotion, admission and opportunities should be such that one would not fear his background or even his political inclination. Mr Speaker, these are very critical and the seeming polarisation and the seeming partisanship on our campuses must come to an end.
Going forward, it is my hope that this new University would be a platform for its intended purpose.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity.