Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has held its first virtual congregation ceremony for graduates of the 2019/2020 Academic Year. The University chose this mode of graduation for this year owing to restrictions placed on the public gathering by the government due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his address, Chancellor Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, appealed to the Government to engage the Telecommunication Companies to provide better internet packages for tertiary students. The packages, he said, should be similar to what the Government is offering in the case of electricity and water, to facilitate internet access for all staff and students, particularly needy students.
He further called for access to internet connectivity in remote areas with poor or no network coverage. ‘We cannot rule out the fact that quite a number of our students are found in such areas and if care is not taken they would be denied access to education through no fault of theirs,’ he said.
He stated the need for students to have the basic devices that support online teaching and learning such as; laptops, tablets or smartphones to ensure the success of online education and engagement in Ghana. The Asantehene added that KNUST on its part would continue to set the pace in online education by investing in relevant infrastructure and training of its manpower.
On the novel coronavirus, he observed that recently, Ghanaians generally do not respect the Covid-19 protocols, mostly in the social distancing protocol which incidentally happens to be the most critical. He cautioned the general public to adhere to the COVID-19’ protocols.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson announced that the University is preparing to introduce Nursing, Midwifery, Medical Laboratory and other Health related programmes at the Obuasi Satellite Campus. She implored Hospitals in Obuasi and its environs to grant access for experiential training of students when the programmes are rolled out.
Professor Mrs. Dickson used the occasion to outline and thank some of its benefactors. She revealed that Exim Bank and Agri Impact Consult after establishing ten (10) Greenhouses of 640 sqm have generously decided to put up extra Greenhouses. A proposal has also been submitted to Exim Bank for consideration for the establishment of fishponds near the Greenhouses. She entreated the students to take a keen interest in the laudable project to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills to enable them to create employment for themselves and employ others.
On KNUST’s impact on national development, the College of Engineering developed a prototype home-made ventilator to support patients with breathing difficulties. She added that the College has received support from the KNUST Engineering Education Project (KEEP) to build three additional proto-types for hospital trials.
She said the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) has so far received and processed over one hundred thousand samples from across the country. She added that the staff at KCCR and the School of Public Health helped in building the capacities of Biomedical Scientists in performing COVID-19 tests in the Northern sector. Some of these new testing centres include; the Public Health Reference Laboratory in Tamale, the Veterinary Services Department Lab at Kpong Tamale and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.
Again, KCCR and the Department of Clinical Microbiology collaborated with Incas Diagnostics to develop a Rapid Diagnostic Test Kit for COVID-19. This product is currently undergoing evaluation for market authorization by the Food and Drugs Authority of Ghana, she said. The University Health Services serve as the first point of call for over 150,000 residents within the KNUST community and Oforikrom Municipality. The staff from the College of Health Sciences were on radio and television, championing public education on the COVID-19 pandemic and how the citizens can stay safe.
Also, the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences responded to the acute shortage of alcohol-based hand sanitizers required for COVID-19 preventive measures by quickly mobilising financial and technical resources to produce what has become one of the best brands of hand sanitizers on the market today (The PharmaClean Hand rub/gel sanitizers) as well as other quality homes, office and floor care products. Since then, there has been huge demands for the products from Ghana and the whole of West Africa, she added.
About 11,488 students graduated. This is made of 10,581 undergraduates and 907 postgraduates. In terms of gender, 4,433 representing 38.59% were females and 7,055 representing 61.41%. were males. The College breakdown of the graduation statistics are as follows; College of Art and Built Environment-1,330, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources-752, College of Engineering-1,372, College of Health Sciences-1,312, College of Humanities & Social Sciences-2,567, College of Science-1,887, Institute of Distance Learning-2266.
For the 2019/2020 graduation year, the overall best graduating student was Kumbong, Hermann Nyuykonge, Bachelor of Science (BSc.) Computer Engineering with a Cumulative Weighted Average (CWA) of 88.45.