Mahama’s policy thrust at the tertiary education level, part one

Tertiary education is a contributory factor in stimulating growth and reducing poverty. A highly skilled workforce, with lifelong access to a solid post-secondary education, is a prerequisite for innovation and growth: well-educated people are, therefore, more employable and productive.

It was against this background that President Mahama initiated some policies to enhance quality tertiary education in Ghana.

And I want to continue my series of bringing to light some of his achievements as documented by the NDC’s Green Book.

At the time of leaving office there were 313,845 tertiary students in Ghana. Enrollment into all the tertiary institutions increased significantly under his watch as president.

President Mahama’s administration constructed and inaugurated a US$37 million Distance Education ICT Facility Centres for all the then 10 Regions. They include state of the art ICT equipment that did not only expand access, but also improved quality and relevance. He ensured that over 3,000 distance education students received fully loaded and connected android tablets.

All the regional centres were also equipped with video conferencing facilities and smart lecture theatres. Additionally, the University of Ghana had adequate fibre, guaranteed cloud services and the ability to deploy wi-fi zones over a wide area.

The following were also completed at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST):

Ultra-modern central laboratories furnished with cutting edge equipment like, high-capacity nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, mass spectrometers and analyzers.

Ultra-modern Petroleum Engineering labs equipped with drill simulators and other state of the art equipment.

A new veterinary hospital, most advanced in West Africa.

And a new KNUST Teaching Hospital to house the School of Dentistry.

More was done at the tertiary level of education. Work on the permanent campus of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) at Sokode Lokoe in the Volta Region was completed and handed over. In addition, 10 new classroom blocks, laboratory complex, accommodation for lecturers, new lecture halls, outstanding works at the Nurses Training School and the rehabilitation of the Onchocerciasis Centre were completed.

The University admitted its first batch of medical students in the 2014/15 academic year in a bid to increase the number of doctors in the country.



Source: Modern Ghana

New book on Mapungubwe Archive contests history of South African world heritage site

Mapungubwe is a world heritage site and national park located on the border between South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. From about 1000 AD the settlement there developed into a major African state before being abandoned by the 1300s. Mapungubwe has been the subject of diverse scientific enquiry and archaeological research since the early 1930s. As a heritage site, however, it challenges colonial, nationalist and apartheid views of prehistory. The vast global trade that’s evidenced by masses of trade glass beads and local artisanship of metals at Mapungubwe shows that Africa was not a ‘dark continent’, devoid of technology and innovation. Mapungubwe’s prehistory was excluded during apartheid to support more Eurocentric views of South Africa’s past. Now a new book, Past Imperfect , offers a study of this archive of research and reveals gaps, silences and missing voices, some deliberately erased. The author, a curatorial specialist, historian and archaeologist, Sian Tiley-Nel, discusses her findings.


What is the Mapungubwe Archive?

For more than two decades the Mapungubwe Collection has been on public display at the University of Pretoria. The world-class collection, including a famous gold rhino and other significant materials, is a critical research collection for the precolonial era. It has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people since being made more accessible after 1999 at the University of Pretoria.


The same cannot be said for the associated Mapungubwe Archive, which for decades lay in departmental storerooms at the university in boxes, as old papers and ageing photographs.


As an academic, historian and conservator, I was responsible for the archive, which was often unfunded and unvalued as a research asset. It was only in 2018, when I submitted a grant application to the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Grant via the US Embassy in Pretoria , that greater traction could be gained to fund the physical preservation of the archive. In the end, the Mapungubwe Archive was established as a formal repository and research site at the University of Pretoria. BAR Publishing


It was early in my career, in 1999 that I began to realise the full extent of negligence and disregard for original archival sources. There were many antiquated views from scholars which excluded many hidden histories and suggested that other cultures or “non-Africans” were responsible for building the Mapungubwe site. So some Mapungubwe academics often came with racist theories and partial hypotheses based on circumstantial evidence, and ignored histories of oral records. Most disconcerting was the lack of proper care, conservation, preservation, access and active research. Mass excavation was more important than preserving the material and associated records derived from the Mapungubwe Collection.


What was neglected and what would the missing voices tell us?

The gaps, silences and missing voices in the Mapungubwe Archive usually indicate highly selected material that was deliberately not kept and is most probably in private possession or was simply destroyed. There were missing letters, photographs and other content. There were gaps in the archive chronology, no field reports and the like.


Some of the Mapungubwe Archive material is related to when the site was used as a military terrain on the farm Greefswald. Many military records are tied up in the Department of Defence and some still have an embargo.


Other forms of missing narratives outlined in the book refer to the neglect of oral history and indigenous knowledge of Mapungubwe Hill as a sacred site by local communities. Fortunately the recognition of community voices has increased over the decades.


Read more: The continued threat of coal mining at the Mapungubwe world heritage site


In 1969, archaeology become a fully fledged discipline at the University of Pretoria, with a focus on stratigraphy (the layering of archaeological deposits). Research reinforced what I call “pots over people”. There was a lack of consultation with local commmunities in and around the Mapungubwe region. This included a lack of acknowledgement that prior to 1933, Mapungubwe held a deep precolonial history – although not physically evidenced or written.


There are also intentional gaps and silences in the archive during the height of apartheid (white minority rule in South Africa) mainly from the 1970s until the late 1980s. But even after democracy in 1994 this was happening in archives, and in many other universities as well. It was largely as a result of departmental agendas, academic power struggles and internal institutional politics or just a lack of rigour to preserve archival material. The author (right) with Helma Steenkamp in 2015, former assistant conservator now the Mapungubwe archivist. Stefan Heunis/AFP via Getty Images


The understanding of Mapungubwe’s early contested history can be shaped by the archive and can reveal why some records were kept and others not. And, more importantly, what can be further extracted and learned from the many omissions, silences and absences.


Is this the case in many archives in South Africa?

Sadly, the destruction, reckless handling and poor conservation efforts of historical records is notable and widespread even today, globally. The book acknowledges upfront the loss of countless important South African archives over years, not just by research institutions, but by government, private and public institutions as well.


Yet the fact remains that the Mapungubwe Archive does exist. Even if with gaps and omissions, it remains one South Africa’s greatest heritage archives for the continent.


Why does this matter?

Archives matter as history matters. Lessons can be learnt from past mistakes and archives serve as human testimony and knowledge that would not have been known if they weren’t preserved. The damage by omissions in the archive from a research point of view demonstrates that the archive is not a repository of historical material only. Archives are shaped in the present and have the potential to shape the future. Much of what is known about Mapungubwe in the 21st century stems from the contents of the archive. Past Imperfect provides many fascinating details of this research.


The recentering of the Mapungubwe Archive shows that while archival material has enduring historical value it also forms part of the university’s shaped culture, trajectory of research and institutional memory. The book is not about making history but instead how history is used.


The Mapungubwe Archive at the University of Pretoria has evolved into not just a repository or depository, but a site of contestation, a space and place of memory.



Source: Modern Ghana

Intensity challenge for mighty Springboks before All Blacks rematch

The front page headline on Sunday in South Africa’s biggest Afrikaans language newspaper screamed, “Best in a century” after the Springboks outplayed New Zealand 26-10 in the Rugby Championship opener this weekend.

It was South Africa’s biggest winning margin against the All Blacks since they won 17-0 in Durban in 1928 — and Rapport backed up their headline with three pages of rave reviews of the Springboks’ performance.

Hooker and man-of-the-match Malcolm Marx was given 10 out of 10 for his individual efforts and six other Springboks were awarded nine out of 10, including scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse, who came on to the field after just 43 seconds when Faf de Klerk was concussed.

The Springboks win heaped pressure on All Blacks coach Ian Foster, whose charges have lost five of their last six matches, including a home series against Ireland.

But Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi were wary about proclaiming a new era of dominance against their long-time rivals.

The teams meet again at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday and the South Africans know that matching the intensity they showed in Mbombela will be a challenge.

Kolisi said the support of a packed 42,367 crowd had inspired his players, from the rousing rendition of the national anthem through to the final whistle.

“I just don’t know how South African people do it,” said Kolisi. “The way they turn up with everything that’s going on in our country.

‘Means the world to us’

“People who can still afford it, still come along and still fill up the stadium for us and it means the world to us as a team.

“It feels good, but we know the championship is not done yet. We have five more games to go but the next important one is next week.”

Nienaber was cagey when asked whether the Springboks would be able to reach the same heights two weeks in a row.

“If you don’t have intensity against the All Blacks, you are not going to do well,” he said. “Was it the highest intensity? I don’t know. I don’t think we’re the finished product yet.”

South Africa’s win was based on a dominant pack, ferocious defence and a pinpoint kicking game.

Springbok pressure forced the All Blacks to concede 12 penalties while there were only seven against the home side.

“We don’t see kicking as a way to relieve pressure,” said Nienaber. “We see it as a method of attack. Every single guy on the field played their role in making sure our kicking game functioned.”

Despite the result, Foster believed it was New Zealand’s most improved performance of the year.

“In some areas we really shifted our game forward. In a game dominated by defence, we defended well but our timing was out on the attack side,” he said.

“We always knew it was going to be tough, and we felt that tonight. But we’ve got to take some things we’ve made some big shifts in.

“We nullified a large part of their driving game and in that last quarter we were opening things up but started to snatch at a couple of balls, which is frustrating.”




Source: Modern Ghana

Ghana’s Joseph Paintsil nets brace under 10 minutes to inspire Genk to victory over KAS Eupen

Ghana international, Joseph Paintsil was a star for his KRC Genk side on Saturday afternoon when the team cruised past KAS Eupen with a win to climb to second on the standings of the Belgian Pro League.

The talented attacker needed just 10 minutes in the first half to net a sensational brace to inspire his team to dominate the opponent.

The Black Stars asset scored his first of the match in the 3rd minute when he displayed impressive goal-scoring instinct.

Six minutes later, Joseph Paintsil was presented with another good chance and made no mistake as he equalised to complete his brace.

Additional goals from Patrick Hrosovsky and Mike Tresor helped Genk to secure the 4-2 victory while goals from Smail Prevljak and Regan Charles-Cook served as consolation for KAS Eupen.

With his two goals today, Joseph Paintsil has proven he can be trusted on the flanks to deliver.

He has had a good start to the new football season and must continue working hard to improve his numbers to merit a place in the Ghana squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup scheduled to be staged in Qatar later this year.




Source: Modern Ghana

Hearts of Oak reinforce squad with the signing of midfielder Wisdom Bumekpor

Ghana Premier League giant, Hearts of Oak have completed the signing of midfielder Wisdom Bumekpor.

The club last month confirmed the release of as many as six players. Ahead of the 2022/23 football season, the club has decided to bring in new players to reinforce the squad of the team.

Following successful talks with representatives of midfielder Wisdom Bumekpor, the club has managed to secure the signature of the player on a five-year contract.

“Wisdom Bumekpor joins us as we continue to chart the path of history together,” a club statement from Hearts of Oak said on Saturday.

Besides Wisdom Bumekpor, Hearts of Oak have signed three other players. They include Goalkeeper Eric Ofori Antwi, Defender Zakari Yakubu, and Striker Junior Kaaba.

Modernghana Sports can confirm that there will be a few more additions to the squad of the Phobians before the start of the 2022/23 football season.




Source: Modern Ghana

Midfielder Wisdom Bumekpor over the moon after joining Hearts of Oak


Ghanaian midfielder, Wisdom Bumekpor says he is excited after completing a massive transfer to Premier League giants Hearts of Oak.

The Ghana Premier League side on Saturday announced the capture of the signature of the player who is a product of WAFA SC and a former player of Second Division side Gye Nyame FC.

“Wisdom Bumekpor joins us as we continue to chart the path of history together,” a club statement from Hearts of Oak said on Saturday.

Speaking to the media team of Hearts of Oak after his signing, a delighted Wisdom Bumekpor stressed that the move is a huge jump in his career.

“It is a dream come true to play for the biggest club in Ghana and for that matter one of the best in Africa. It is a huge jump for me,” the versatile midfielder said as quoted by the Hearts of Oak website.

Wisdom Bumekpor has enormous strength when playing as an attacking midfielder. He is able to excel in a holding midfield role due to his versatility.




Source: Modern Ghana

Akufo-Addo commissions North East RCC administration block

President Nana Akufo-Addo, on Saturday, 6th August 2022, commissioned the newly constructed administration block of the North East Regional Coordinating Council, in Nalerigu, as part of the working visit of the North East Region.

The administration block of the North East Regional Co-ordinating Council is amongst six new administration structures being constructed for the six newly created Regions, and the second to be completed for use, after the commissioning in September 2021 of the administration block for the North East Regional Coordinating Council.

The administration complex was constructed at a cost of seventeen million, six hundred and forty-seven thousand, five hundred and forty-three cedis, and seventeen pesewas (GH¢17,647,543.17). It will house all the departments of the Western Regional Co-ordinating Council and other Institutions to ensure effective and efficient administration of the Region.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Akufo-Addo stated that the creation of the new regions “will bring government closer to the people, and also accelerate the process of social and economic progress in the various regions.”

He noted, however, that “we can’t build the regions without creating the institutions that will make regional development a success, and that is what we have begun to do with this building.”

President Akufo-Addo continued, “The Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Decentralisation, Hon. Daniel Botwe was the very Minister who saw to the regional reconstruction, and that is why he has now been given the added responsibility of making sure that the decentralization exercise, the devolution that we have seen in the administration of our state, becomes firm and on the ground.”

Touching on other key projects in the North East region since its creation, he noted that “eleven (11) road projects have been completed in the North East region in my time, and sixty-one (61) are ongoing. Reference has already been made to the work that has been done on the town roads in Nalerigu and Gambaga and in Walewale, bridges that are being built in the area, and the developments in the various important road connections, that there are in this region.”

Concluding the President said, “But in all of these, there is one also important source of joy, and that is the elevation we have made for one of the daughters of the Nayiri; Member of Parliament for Walewa Lariba Zuwera Abudu, who has now become the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection. She is a hardworking woman and I have no doubt that she’s going to justify the confidence that I’ve got in her”.

President Akufo-Addo also commissioned the new Regional office of the Youth Employment Agency for the North East Region, adding up to others already completed in the Oti, Western North and Ahafo Regions.


Source: Modern Ghana

Suame: One dead after fire guts plastic melting factory

One person has died while two others have been admitted at the hospital after a fire gutted a plastic melting factory and about four residential buildings at Kronum-Kyerase in the Suame municipality of the Ashanti region.

According to officers from the Ghana National fire service, the fire started on the evening of Saturday at the plastic melting factory, but later spread to an 11-bedroom house and three other adjoining buildings.

The fire caused destruction to the properties in the buildings.

The Ghana National fire service says the deceased got trapped in the building in his attempt to help douse the flames in the early stages but lost his life when it escalated.

The two others who have been admitted at the Breman Hospital are owners of the factory and the 11-bedroom house who lost consciousness due to the extent of the fire.

The Breman Fire Station’s Divisional Commander, DO3 Selasie Avevor noted that the intensity of the fire require more tools from personnel than usual.

“The regional office had to come in because it was polythene and with the polythene, we also had to use the foam concentrate, so we could douse the fire,” he said as an example.

“We had to be very strategic. We had to be very tactical because the wind was not on our side, and it engulfed other adjoining buildings,” he added.



Source: Modern Ghana