Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has received high marks, for its ‘Good Quality’ rating, after an evaluation by the African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) – a barometer used in assessing the credibility of universities on the continent.
Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said the institution scored 3.25 on the AQRM’s evaluation scale, which was next to exceptional per the assessment of the regulatory body.
The criteria used included the teaching and learning facilities, quality of infrastructure and material resources, quality of students’ services, academic staff profile in terms of qualifications and rank, as well as relevant documents and policies guiding the University’s conduct.
Prof. Obiri-Danso broke the news at the 52nd congregation of the University and said their vision was to rank among the top 10 in Africa.
The AQRM was developed by the African Union (AU) Commission, as part of the strategies to harmonize higher education, and adopted by the Conference of Ministers of Education in 2007.
The aim is to revitalize and strengthen educational institutions of higher learning to ensure they are globally competitive and attractive, while being locally-relevant.
It is also a tool intended to facilitate benchmarking of quality and to promote a culture of on-going improvements in higher education.
A total of 6,528 students, comprising 5,848 undergraduates and 680 post-graduates were presented for certificates by all the six Colleges in this year’s congregation.
Sixty-one (61) of the graduating students were awarded Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) degrees, while 651 graduates had First Class.
The Vice-Chancellor highlighted the need to focus priority on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and said it was the way forward to grow the nation’s economy.
He announced that the World Bank, through the Ministry of Communication’s e-Transform Project had granted KNUST an amount of US$500,000 for the establishment of an Innovation Hub within the University’s Business Incubator.
The goal was to create a the right atmosphere and co-worker space with the highest bandwidth connectivity where people, intending to create ICT-related innovative ideas could sit with like-minds to think, design and develop prototypes, towards commercialization.
Prof. Obiri-Danso added that the entire project sought to bring qualitative change and standards to ‘Made-in-Ghana’ products, and said there was a 30 percent component for women participation in the project.
He told the gathering that the University had been making giant strides in the areas of research and innovation and spoke of how Dr (Mrs) Cynthia Amaning Danquah of the Department of Pharmacology, was featured extensively by the BBC for her research into the use of onions to tackle antibiotic resistance in infectious diseases globally.
Again, Prof Kwabena Ofori-Kwakye and his team from the Department of Pharmaceutics were also researching into the potential use of some cassava varieties as substitutes for imported maize starch in the pharmaceutical industry.
This is expected to serve as a binding agent in the pharmaceutical industry for the manufacture of tablets, capsules and other dosage forms.
The pharmaceutical industry currently imports millions of dollars of maize starch annually from Europe and Asia for the manufacture of various pharmaceutical products in Ghana.