The Ministry of Finance has released GHC37 million as research allowance to university lecturers to prevent a possible strike next academic term.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is to receive the highest amount of GHC6.53 million.
The Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who announced this in Kumasi yesterday, said the money was to go through the various stages of verification, including the Bank of Ghana and the Accountant-General’s Department, before payment was made.
In order to allay the fears of lecturers, the deputy minister presented a copy of the release letter from the Ministry of Finance to the outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the KNUST, Prof. William Otoo-Ellis, as proof.
He made the announcement at the inauguration of a GHC673,649 TEK Television Station at KNUST.
The TV station, the first by any tertiary institution in Ghana, comprises a 3D graphics studio, a TV studio, and a sound studio and is in line with the university’s bigger initiative of expanding and re-tooling its research and teaching laboratories, studios and workshops started in 2010.
It also has TV live studio, animation laboratories, a master control room and a host production room.
The TEK TV is focused on developing mainly educational programmes to be hooked onto one of the channels of digital TV.
Mr. Ablakwa indicated that an initial directive by the Cabinet for educational and health institutions not to be disconnected by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) for outstanding bills still stood.
He, however, called for a debate to find a sustainable solution to the electricity tariff problems on campuses, against the backdrop of an increase in students’ population.
Among the proposals being put forward, according to the deputy minister, was the introduction of a metering system for students, since it would be unfair to bill all students equally.
He noted that some students used high-consuming electrical gadgets and, therefore, it would be ‘unwise’ to allow all students to pay the same amount.
Much as the universities were autonomous bodies and academic fees could not be imposed on them, Mr Ablakwa pleaded with the various VCs not to announce any new fees, at least for now.
The Deputy Minister of Communications, Mr. Ato Sarpong, promised that TEK TV would be hooked onto one of the digital channels and put directly to the home satellites platform as the ministry’s support to the institution.
He announced that by October 21, 2017, Ghana would migrate onto digital satellite television which would make it the third country in Africa to do so.
One million Ghanaians
Mr. Sarpong said the government was considering providing free set-up boxes (Digi boxes) to one million ‘vulnerable ‘households’ who might not have the resources to buy digital compliance television sets.
The proposal was, however, yet to be put before Parliament for consideration, he said.
Prof. Otoo-Ellis said the establishment of the TEK TV had resulted in the establishment of a state-of-the-art Central laboratory, the Oil and Gas laboratories, the Chemical and Petroleum laboratories, the Greenhouse (both automated and manual) and several teaching laboratories.
He expressed excitement at the station because it would give practical training and on-the-job experience to students of the Communications and Design Department of the Faculty of Arts in the College of Built and Environment.
He said the TV station would provide the university with the capacity and opportunity for educational broadcasting, information dissemination, especially with respect to research uptake, and the production of educational materials.