The Chairman and Members of the University Council
My Lord Bishops
Special Guest of Honour, Honourable Bono Regional Minister
Ministers, Members of Parliament, MCEs and DCEs here present;
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana; (Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu)
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast; Rep. (Prof. Anokye Adam
Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Registrars, Finance Officers of Public and Independent Universities in Ghana;
Nana nom Omanhene, Chiefs and Queen mothers here present;
Deans, Directors, HoDs, staff and students of CUCG;
NCTE and NAB Officers present;
Head of Affiliation offices of UG and UCC
Distinguished Parents and graduants;
Distinguished invited guests;
Ladies and gentlemen,
We would like to thank all of you for travelling far and near to join us today to receive report from the President on the developments in the University, celebrate our graduans who are graduating today. Certainly, for the imperative convenience of its global clientele, CUCG must aspire to be global in its offerings, structuring of programmes, and manner of doing business.
This address will highlight on some few major developments and happenings in the University in the past year.
Teaching and Learning
The CUCG is transforming itself over time and harnessing the Catholic quality brand to become a globally competitive and student-centered teaching and learning institution and a scholarly research environment where creativity, innovation and service to the community are the hallmarks. Being a globally competitive university means provision of holistic education to make our staff and products versatile and competitive in the global market. As one of the leading private faith based tertiary institutions in Ghana, the CUCG must embrace and influence our responsibility of producing the next generation of men and women of knowledge and wisdom to drive national development through innovative teaching and learning methods.
In this regard, CUCG is implementing excellent education processes and standards, is committed to the use of international pedagogies in course delivery, ensuring industry integration, and carrying out research to create new knowledge. These will promote innovation and creativity to enable our students achieve the right high-quality skillset and integrate them in leadership roles with the society and industry. It is imperative that we continue to build a quality culture by implementing systematic academic quality improvement initiatives that will nurture a culture of continuous improvement and strengthen the teaching and learning experience of our students.
My Lord Bishops, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, organizational restructuring of CUCG is one of the key strategies in the revitalization, rebranding and repositioning agenda. In this regard, the Council has established:
1. Early Childhood Care & Development Centre was established to care for the children especially of our week end students while at lectures.
2. The Office of International Programmes & Institutional Advancement was established to overseer international programs and institutional advancement strategies.
3. The Council has also established the Career Guidance and Counselling Unit to provide career guidance and counselling services to students, staff and the university catchment communities.
Expansion of Academic Programmes As an institution, CUCG must continue to develop innovative and demand-driven academic programmes to increase student numbers at CUCG and also to meet the needs of industry and the national developmental agenda. We have received accreditation to run new programmes in January 2021:
1. BSc. Journalism,
2. BSc Midwifery,
3. BSc Public Health Nursing,
4. MSc. Accounting and Finance,
5. M.Phil. Public Health
6. M.Phil. Human Resources Management programmes
The following new programmes have reached advanced stages of accreditation for them to be introduced as soon as practicable:
7. BSc. Communication Science and Digital Media Studies
8. BSc. Data Science & Business Analytics
9. Diploma in Human Resources Management
10. Diploma in Accounting
11. M.phil Accounting, Marketing, Finance
One Parish: One Student Project
To increase catholic student population at CUCG, the One Paris: One Student Project was approved by both the Council and GCBC. This an innovative strategy to increase Catholic student enrolment in the University to at least 50% in the next few years. It is imperative and timely that the Catholic Church should use CUCG as an avenue to build capacity of the lay faithful, the Religious and the Priests to enable them function more effectively for the church, local communities and Ghana as a whole. It is also important that more Catholics are given the opportunity to enjoy the high quality and holistic education offered by CUCG. The Catholics should patronize educational offerings at CUCG as a matter of deliberate church policy
With the successful implementation of free SHS education in Ghana, the Catholic Church should now focus her attention on training high calibre tertiary level personnel for Ghana and beyond. The One Parish: One Student Project aims at encouraging every Parish in Ghana to sponsor students to access tertiary education at CUCG.
Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 on CUCG
The closure of schools due to the COVID 19 pandemic Ghana has impacted negatively on private tertiary institutions including CUCG with respect to disruption to the academic calendar and fee recovery effort to cater for operational expenses. Due to the closure of universities, students left the various campuses with about 40-50% of unpaid fees. Also, due to the impact of the pandemic on economic life of most parents and guardians, private institutions could not enforce the policy of no fee payment no examination. Accordingly, most final year and continuing students were allowed to write their second semester examinations in July and August 2020 with outstanding fees. We now have students at home not paying fees. There are huge data costs for all the private institutions which had to switch to online teaching and learning. This situation has worsened the financial position of CUCG making it difficult for us to meet some of our operational expenses that fall due.
COVID 19 Response Committee, chaired by the Dean of the Faculty of Health and Allied Sciences was constituted to create awareness, institute preventive measures and advise Management on COVID 19 issues. The Committee has established collaboration with the Sunyani West Municipal and Bono Regional COVID 19 Emergency Response Teams to provide support where necessary. All COVID-19 prevention and safety protocols are being religiously adhered to on campus. Staff and students have been sensitized on preventive measures (maintaining social distancing, constant hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, coughing and sneezing etiquette) and signs and symptoms of COVID 19. Veronica buckets containing water and soap have been provided to allow for constant washing of hands with soap under running water. The buckets have been placed at vantage points around the campus to ensure easy access to water. Hand sanitizers (70% alcohol) and face marks have also been provided and it is mandatory for staff and students to use face masks any time they moved out of their rooms to public places. Apart from this, the operation of the University’s infirmary has been strengthened to provide first aid to students who may report of any ailment.
We highly commend the Government for the pragmatic measures it has taken to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on the Ghanaian economy, in particular the 1 billion cedis stimulus package and 600 million cedis soft loan facility for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as disinfection (2 times) and supply of PPEs to all educational institutions in Ghana. An amount of GHS300, 000.00 at 3% rate of interest payable within 3 years with 12 months moratorium was accessed by CUCG on October 01, 2020. The following PPEs were also supplied by Government to CUCG at total cost of GHS142, 886.39:
1. 1949 Pieces of Face Marks
2. 207 Gallons of Liquid Soap
3. 10 Veronica Buckets
4. 8498 bottles of Hand Sanitizers
5. 805 rolls of Tissue Papers
6. 8 Pieces of Thermometer (Thermal) Guns
7. 45 Pieces of Examination Gloves
8. 9 Pieces of Goggles
9. COVID 19 Posters
Current Technology for E-Learning at CUCG Online teaching and learning started when the Universities were closed down in March 2020. The University College has deployed a mix of information technology (IT) solutions and services in response to COVID-19 outbreak to facilitate online teaching and learning. The University is currently using Moodle as the official online learning management system (LMS) platform supported with Zoom to facilitate effective teaching and learning. The University also signed up for Google G-Suite which enables the use of Google classroom and Google Meet packages to meet the needs of students and lecturers who schedule classes outside the standard university time table.
The Moodle LMS has been integrated with our online registration portal to facilitate seamless students’ registration and enrolment on the LMS. This ensures that all registered students are able to enroll on their semester courses, attend lectures (Video via Zoom & Google Meet), receive assignments, and take quizzes and examinations. Lecturers are also able to monitor attendance whilst the University College monitors the lectures and attendance through the switchboard of the Zoom and Data from the LMS.
Lecturers are able to conduct examination in real-time using Moodle and the Google classroom. These LMSs have functionalities such as timing and effective feedback tools for online examinations. For effective communication or interaction between students and their lecturers, the Institution has acquired Zoom Educational package which allows multiple lecture sessions at a time (30 Lecturers teaching at the same time). This has facilitated real time effective interactive teaching and learning environment through video conferencing.
The University Library uses KOHA, a library management system that allows students to access our e-library resources online i.e. on the Internet and Intranet. Students are also allowed to place request for e-books that may not be available on our e-library resources which are provided as soon as possible by our library management are able to obtain it. The University has organized relevant training workshops for faculty to build and strengthen their capacity to deliver online lectures with high level of effectiveness. Students have also been taken through orientation sessions and are prepared adequately for online leaning. We are negotiating with Vodafone and MTN for data bundle package for our students.
We are working seriously to resolve some of the major barriers to e-learning including rigidly structured educational delivery systems, fear of change by both students and faculty, infrastructural deficits, cost of data, attitudes and perceptions of students to manage their time effectively and develop communication and technological skills as well as being self-motivated, exhibit commitment and accept the flexibility that goes with online engagements.
Application for Grant of Presidential Charter After operating for 16 years as an affiliate institution of the University of Ghana and University Cape Coast, it was time to put the CUCG in readiness for the application of a Presidential Charter. With concerted effort, CUCG submitted application for grant of Presidential Charter to NAB in January 2019 to commence the assessment processes and procedures. The CUCG submitted its responses to NAB on December 11, 2019, February 21, 2020 and May 21, 2020. I am happy to report that on-campus assessment and inspection of facilities took place on October 26, 2020. We look forward to successful outcome of our application sooner than later. We appreciate the full support of our two mentoring institutions (University of Ghana and University of Cape Coast) in this regard.
A Word to Our Graduants I salute and congratulate our 550 undergraduates 41 MBA and 129 PGD in Education graduants for your efforts that have enabled you to satisfy all the requirements for graduation today in spite of the many challenges you endured. I salute the parents, guardians and staff of this University for contributing in diverse ways in shaping the intellectual lives of these graduants. Grandaunts: The formal knowledge you have acquired will certainly be useful to you in undertaking tasks associated with job positions you would be fortunate to secure. However, you need more than just certificates or formal qualifications to excel in your job roles and in life in general. This is a conclusion many people have genuinely and truthfully come to over their lives journey.
Certainly, you have been privileged to be in an institution with strong catholic character where intellectual and moral excellence are our hallmarks. I encourage you to apply the knowledge you have gained in your programmes at CUCG to the service of humanity because it is my strong belief that you have a stake in shaping the lives of other Ghanaians you will come into contact with. Please see your graduation today as a calling to serve God and humanity.
You must look at education not only in terms of acquiring certificates and degrees, but rather as a lifelong process of acquiring knowledge and skills as well as shaping one’s personal life for societal good. Formal education will get you academic qualification, but lifelong learning will equip you with knowledge and skills that make you useful to society. I encourage you to continue learning after today’s graduation else you would be left behind in our rapidly changing world. You will need to enhance your understanding of the world around you for your own survival and that of others. An educated mind never stops learning. Endeavour to learn things which will positively improve your quality of life and that of humanity in general. Avoid learning negative and unproductive stuff. Develop a passion for learning because if you do, you will never cease to grow. Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
The life journey is your own. A RABBIT runs, jumps, moves faster and lives for only 15 years while a TORTOISE does not even attempt any of such activities but lives for 150 years or more. Life is not about rushing, comparison and doing what others are doing but rather keep calm and do what is right and what you are called to do. Animals may live in the same forest and play together but have different life expectancy. We must remember that we will have age, mates, class mates, school mates, office mates but there are no DESTINY MATES in life. Be who you are called to be, love who you are and thank God for your special journey which may not look like others!! This is the simplest way to succeed in life!!
Graduants, in this historic day in your lives, I wish to remind you of three kinds of people, according to the Greeks, that are found in any given society for you to make your own individual choices. The First are the IDIOTS. The idiots are totally private, self-centred person selfish persons. They are always out for their personal gains and personal interests with no public philosophy. No knowledge, no skill, no character and no virtues to be able to live and contribute in a flourishing society and community. They are all out for personal pleasures and treasures. They are upgraded barbarians.
The Second is the TRIBES PEOPLE.
It does not mean people belonging to a particular set tribe, which is a good thing. Tribes are people with tribalistic mentality and unable to think beyond their small tribes or their small groups. Their primary allegiance, their only allegiance and the ultimate allegiance is to their tribe. Their tribe is their God, and their religion is tribalism. They are always afraid of things that are different, that are a little alien to them. They are always suspicious and fearful, and they always deal with different people and difficult situations with intimidation, with force and with violence. The ideal person for the tribes people is the warrior, because tribe’s people are a war making people.
The third kind of persons are the ideal persons or Citizens
Not legal status or political status. To the Greeks the citizen is someone who has the skills and the knowledge to live a public life. Who is able to live a life of civility. The citizen recognizes that he or she is a member of a Commonwealth, and thus strives for the common good. The citizen knows his or her rights in a society. But he or she also knows his or her responsibilities to society. The citizen can fight for his rights, but always with an awareness of and with respect for the rights and interests of others, of their neighbours, of the smallest of minorities, and of the worst of their enemies. The Citizens make up a civilized society and they settle their differences with civility. So they produce a civilized society, a society that truly lives up to the name, to the meaning of the name society. Society literally means friendship and friendliness.
That is the choice that each and every individual wherever he or she may be has to make in a society. And I believe that is the choice that faces us as Ghanaians today. Will we be idiots living only for ourselves, will we be tribal, tribalistic, tribes people, unable to think beyond our tribes and our small groups or will we be citizens in the best sense of the word. Today, on this historic day, I believe I want to make my choice and I also believe that you will want to make your choice and I hope you and I will take that right choice. And it is with that hope that I want to conclude my address to you distinguished ladies and gentlemen as my fellow Ghanaian Citizens.
Conclusion There is no doubt that CUCG has made immense contribution to the provision of holistic education in Ghana and beyond. In the coming years, we need to leverage on our modest achievements to propel CUCG to greater heights in the tertiary education landscape of Ghana. Continuous staff training and re-tooling to improve their skills and competences are paramount for the sustenance of high academic and moral standards at CUCG. The on-going restructuring exercise must continue in order to make our operations cost effective and efficient. All staff, students and alumni of CUCG have collective responsibility to protect and defend the image of CUCG at all times. We must do everything humanly possible to significantly increase student enrolment as a matter of urgency with major focus on graduate and sandwich programmes in order to address the cycle of non- payment of salaries from May to August each year.
The CUCG has formally put in her application for grant of Presidential Charter to become an autonomous University to issue its own certificates. Our major preoccupation in the next few years is to work assiduously to attain a Presidential Charter. The number one prerequisite for Charter is a functional Endowment Fund. Our hope is that all stakeholders will continue to support CUCG as the premier national Catholic University in Ghana. With a functional Endowment Fund and Charter, I can assure all stakeholders that CUCG will continue to make distinctive contribution to national development and to turn out graduates endowed with practical ability, a moral vision of life and a profound religious motivation to serve humanity. As staff of CUCG, let us remind ourselves that the past is a nice place to visit but certainly not a good place to stay. Therefore, let us invest in nurturing our relationships. Invest in finding and discovering our purpose, our passion, our calling in order to enhance our professional growth to achieve the vision and mission of the University. Finally invest in pursuing and cultivating a meaningful and deep spiritual connect.
Management would like to thank the Church, the GCBC, the Council, staff, students, alumni and our friends for the huge sacrifices they continue to make towards the growth and development of CUCG. I thank you all for listening to me and God bless us all.