GNA special Correspondent ,Libreville, Gabon
Courtesy AAULibreville, (Gabon), May 31, GNA - Ghana has been commended for her contributions to and support for the Association of African Universities AAU over the years.
Professor George Albert Magoha, Acting President of the AAU who gave the commendation could not hide his happiness when he recounted the good relations the Association had enjoyed from Ghana and its people since it was headquartered in Accra in 1970 and said the Association is grateful for the goodwill.
Prof Magoha was addressing the 13th General Conference of the Association currently taking place in Gabonese capital, Libreville.
The week™s meeting which is on the theme: śTransforming African Higher Education for Graduate Employability and Socio-Economic Development," is being attended by representatives of AAU members, associate members and observers admitted by the Governing Board, education ministers, vice chancellors, presidents, rectors and lecturers of various universities and institutions of Higher Education on the continent as well as representatives of donor communities.
Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, Minister of Education and a board member of the AAU, led Ghana™s delegation which included Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Domwini Kuupole, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast and Professor Joshua Alabi, Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies.
Others are Professor Kwesi Yankah, President of the Central University College and Mrs Alice Sena Lamptey, Higher Education Technical Advisor of the African Union Commission and a host of lecturers and rectors of the various universities and polytechnics.
Prof Magoha expressed happiness that Ghana had not only accommodated the AAU headquarters but also set a good example by introducing the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND), which is providing funding to support students in tertiary education.
The GETFUND is supporting the institutions with infrastructural and human resource development, provision of equipment and vehicles to facilitate academic work.
śIt did not end there as these efforts were officially cemented with the provision of a piece of land by the University of Ghana at Legon to the AAU for the construction of a permanent office to house the Secretariat of the Associationť
śAdditionally the Ghana government has also made the commitment to provide funding also from the GETFUND for construction of the project which would be started soon.
śHow can we express appreciation for all these?ť Prof Magoha asked.
He expressed the hope that the cordial relations would be maintained not only for the benefit of AAU but also for African Universities and the growth and development of the continent as a whole.
Prof Opoku Agyemang also received her share of the commendation as a board member and the West Africa Representative on the Board.
Commenting on the recognition, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, she said the AAU board discussed the headquarters project with the late President John Atta Mills when the board called on him to discuss pertinent issues of higher education in Africa and the role of the AAU in 2010.
As part of the outcome of the visit, Prof Mills agreed to assist in the building of a permanent Secretariat for the AAU.
As a continental body, the Board noticed that the secretariat, which was housed in Accra since 1970 had outgrown the office accommodation.
Prof Opoku Agyeman said the two Ghanaians on the Board at the time comprising herself and Prof Kwasi Adarkwa, former Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology were tasked to work towards the fulfilment of the promise.
The development Office of the University of Cape Coast, has prepared the model for approval by the AAU before the commencement of the project, Prof Opoku Agyeman said.
śIn all these, we will make sure all the laws on procurement and disbursement as required by the regulations in Ghana are fully applied,ť she said.
Prof Aryeetey said the University of Ghana willingly leased out the land for the AAU headquarters project because it fell into the core business of universities in which the university plays an important role.