Address of the Rector on the matriculation ceremony for the 2018/2019 academic year

Some first year student's in a group picture

The Registrar, Members of the Academic Board, Members of Convocation, Junior Members, Matriculants, Parents and other Invited Guests, the Media

First of all, I seize this opportunity to express my sincere and heart-felt gratitude to colleague staff, students and labour unions (POWAG, TEWU, PAAG and POTAG) for the cooperation, support and rapport given to me since I assumed the leadership of this polytechnic on 30th July 2018, knowing all too well that we are in this together and that, our own destiny lies in our own hands. Indeed, I am most grateful. It can only get better, God being so good.

I also congratulate and extend our warmest welcome to our fresh students who have just been formally admitted into the polytechnic to pursue various academic programmes leading to the award of a Higher National Diploma (HND).

During the 2018 admission cycle, a total of 509 applications were received; out of which 462, made up of 150 females and 312 males were admitted. Of this number, only 324 applicants accepted the admissions and were duly registered as freshmen and women as at the close of work yesterday.

Ladies and Gentlemen! This is our reality. We need to find out what the causes of this reality really are. In this regard, we have tasked the Joint Admissions Committee (JAC) to conduct a scientific study on this matter and to organize a day or two days stakeholder workshop to fashion out workable and sustainable strategies to the problem of very low student enrolment at the polytechnic. However, we believe that when the first batch of the Free Senior High School (SHS) graduates are ready to join tertiary education, the numbers will improve.

It is our resolve, and I mean it. This is not a walk in the football field. We are truly determined to work very hard to put this institution back on the path of progress. The vision of the founding fathers of the polytechnic to build a model institution of academic excellence is not lost upon us. Some of us witnessed and were an intricate part of the transformational efforts of the first three heads of this institution. We have no reason whatsoever, to jettison the training and the spirit of hardwork and commitment they imbibed in us; that will simply mean we have failed. How can we just easily forget the pioneering work, the untiring, selfless and determined efforts of Mr. Abraham Kofi Kumah Aidoo and his two (2) successors: Professors Sampson K. Agodzo and G.K.S Aflakpui to build and develop this polytechnic? We are calling on all these good people to join our rebuilding efforts, so that, their dreams can be rekindled and kept alive.

Problems Requiring Urgent Attention

  1. Conversion to Technical university

The polytechnic was re-assessed in January 2018 for conversion to a Technical University. We have not yet received any official information about whether we are through or not. This leaves us thinking about how long it will still take for our institution to be converted.

  • Infrastructural development/Payment to contractors and other suppliers

We appeal to the GETFund to make payments to contractors working on various projects whose delivery have unduly delayed due to delay or non-payment of certificates submitted.

  • Completion of outstanding works on 1NO. Hall of Residence

One major problem facing polytechnic is the Students’ Hostel which has stalled for many years. This project is meant to solve the perennial student accommodation problem as there is no single hostel or hall of residence on the Polytechnic campus. It is a 3-storey facility with a sub-basement and has the capacity to accommodate 768 students and 32 Teaching Assistants when completed.

The project was first awarded to MYTURN Limited in January 2008 at a contract price of GH¢5,226,416.14 but was terminated in October 2010 due to delays by the contractor as a result of technical and financial challenges on the part of the contractor. At the time of termination, the project was estimated to be 30% complete.

Subsequently, it was re-awarded in June 2013 to M/S TRUMP CONSTRUCTION CO. LTD at a contract price of GH¢25,537,738.68. However, the contractor did not even mobilize to site and the contract was again terminated and has since not been rewarded.

  • Faculty Building

A faculty building project which was awarded on contract has also been abandoned for some time now. The polytechnic engaged the services of consultants (TOKIWA Environmental Development Associates) to design a 4-storey Engineering Faculty Building to accommodate all four schools of the institution namely: School of Applied Science and Technology, School of Engineering, Business School, and School of Applied Art, Design and General Studies. The building when completed, will provide the following facilities for each school: Dean’s Office, School Administration Office, General Offices (13no.), Board Room, Heads of Department Offices (6no.), Lecturers Cubicles (47no.), Examinations offices, Laboratories (9no,), School Library, Accounts office, Lecture Theatres (6no.), Exhibition Hall, Staff Common Room, and Washrooms. The Tender sum of the entire project was GH¢46,008,495 as at 2012.

The contract was originally awarded to WILKADO Construction Works Limited who has vacated site – because the current central administration block houses both the Administrative and Academic Departments, office space has become very tight.

We are, therefore, appealing to the government, the National Council for tertiary Education (NCTE), and the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to treat these two projects as higher priority and special projects since they are considered as platform investments. We equally see investment in ICT infrastructure and architecture as very crucial in our determination to modernize and digitize the institution. We are again calling on benevolent organizations and individuals to help us in this area of our development.

Even as we support the government’s Free SHS policy and appreciate the steps being taken to make it succeed, we will want to remind government that, if bottlenecks at the Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) are not removed, everything the government is doing at the SHS level, will be much ado about nothing.

  • Clearance to employ more staff

When other institutions were given technical and financial clearance to recruit more staff to augment their numbers, Wa polytechnic was inadvertently left out. I can remember that during the 2016 graduation ceremony, the Interim Management Committee (IMC) made a very passionate appeal to government to allow us to recruit more staff. The current Governing Council since its inauguration on             19th September 2017, has also been vigorously pursuing the matter. Unfortunately, all these efforts have not yet yielded any concrete results; at least to the best of my knowledge.

Once again, we take this opportunity to appeal desperately to government through the Honourable Regional Minister to give us clearance to employ more staff, as all departments, units and sections in the polytechnic are currently understaffed, and current staff are over-stretched in most cases.

Having outlined these problems, we want to thank the Honourable Regional Minister and the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC), as well as the Municipal Chief Executive and the Municipal Assembly for initiating processes leading to the awarding of the Polytechnic Campus main roads on contract. However, we also wish to appeal to them to assist us with street lights on the main road to campus as our students have to traverse all sorts of dangers in the night to come to the campus to study. Our estimate is that, to do that project will require just about 40 electricity poles.

To my dear matriculants

I will want us to ask ourselves the question why some students are successful, and others are not? Successful students know how to set goals for themselves, motivate themselves, and manage their time. Getting off to a good start is important because as the proverb says, “Well begun (sic) is half done.” This is just another way of saying that a good beginning goes a long way toward your ultimate success.

Moreover, the Greek philosopher Aristotle observed that, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” That is to say that, if you make good study techniques a habit, each semester you can become a better, more efficient student.

A study conducted by Easton, Barshis and Ginsberg in 1983-84 involved college students who were highly effective despite the fact that they did not have high entrance scores.  

They learnt from these effective students that they all shared five important characteristics:

  1. Effective students are highly motivated
  2. Effective students plan ahead
  3. Effective students focus on understanding
  4. Effective students are highly selective
  5. Effective students are involved and attentive

Another study conducted by Yaworski, Weber and Ibrahim in 2000 looked at students who had low high school grades and low college entrance scores. Although these students were not expected to do well in college, half of them achieved a relatively high GPA. The rest were on scholastic probation after several semesters. The researchers wanted to know what was the difference between those who succeeded and those who did not? Their findings were strikingly similar to those of the previous research.

Careful interviews with all the students revealed these characteristics of the successful students:

  1. They attend and participate in class.
  2. They are prepared for class.
  3. The perceive their lecturers as experts.
  4. They adhere to an organized study routine.
  5. They develop a repertoire of study skills and strategies.
  6. They take responsibility for their own learning.

In a tertiary institution, you are responsible for motivating yourself. Developing an interest in and a commitment to your courses is not your lecturer’s responsibility; it is your responsibility. Developing the discipline and commitment to make yourself successful is not your parent’s responsibility; it is your responsibility. If you assume the responsibility, then you can feel justifiably proud when you succeed because the credit goes to you. The truly valuable and worthwhile things in life are rarely easy, but that is precisely what gives them their value. Fortunately, motivating yourself is easier than you may think. For one thing, the polytechnic is a stimulating place to be! As you progress through the polytechnic, you will find that learning becomes increasingly pleasurable and satisfying.

Finally, permit me to take this golden opportunity to assure all stakeholders, including students, parents, government and the Ghanaian publics that, the Wa Polytechnic is stable, peaceful, and that academic work is going on smoothly.

Remember

  • Do not just pass through the polytechnic, allow the polytechnic pass through you.
  • The job market is hot, but in a crowded market, quality always stands out.

THANK YOU.