Accra – The University of Ghana on Wednesday, wrote a distinctive history in its annals by the investiture and swearing-in of its first female to occupy the high office of the Chancellor of the Institution.
Mrs Chinery-Hesse, a woman with distinguished careers, replaces Mr Kofi Annan, the Former UN Secretary-General whose two-term service in the high Office expired in July 2018.
By her appointment she would preside over all functions and activities of the University, and confer on qualified persons all degrees, diplomas and certificates awarded by the university.
Mrs Chinery-Hesse in her inaugural address, saluted the University Council for this ground-breaking appointment in the annals of Institution’s leadership.
She also thanked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for the confidence reposed in her.
She said I dedicate my election to this high office to Ghanaian womanhood, charging them with the responsibility to ensure that women’s voices no longer remain muted.
The Chancellorship position just conferred on me is one I humbly accept, cherishing more, the associated responsibilities than any inherent privileges, she said.
Mrs Chinery-Hesse, however, stated that the Chancellor should not be just a ceremonial face, but also an unseen lead advocate, and promise not to simply make herself available for ceremonial events and handshakes at graduations.
She promised to put all the skills she had honed from the School of Life, and the extensive network developed in the process, at the disposal of the University.
The Chancellor commended the University for the Positive Strides made in its gender composition over the years, leading to improvements in the ratio in current enrolment and admission patterns.
The University of Ghana, she said, could now be proud of the successful launch of sexual harassment policies, the establishment of a Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy that coordinated gender-related issues and advised the Institution accordingly.
However, the progress continued to be uneven, saying, as a human institution, We have to accept that some mistakes have been made in the past.
She stated that while the proportion of female undergraduate students had grown appreciably, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, the sciences and post-graduate studies still needed to make progress in this regard.
She again noted that the situation with faculty, although has improved much more slowly, the University management continued to be largely male-dominated, and called for the continuous improvement in these numbers, and also the creation of favourable conditions and conducive environments for female students, and faculty to thrive.
Mrs Chinery-Hesse also acknowledged the numerous challenges currently confronting global higher education and the calling for critical reappraisal to confront the need to redefine their mission in the light of the many changes taking place in worldwide that affected their modus operandi.
She cited concerns such as the apparent disconnect between the curricular of Universities and the World of work, and the complaints from employers about the poor employable skill of graduates for the job market.
Certainly, the dialogue between town and gown must improve where a veritable conduit must be created for this, and my ILO experience should come in useful, she said.
She stressed on the need to encourage Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as key to the development and progress of nations.
She said her vision for the University was to ensure an institution rooted in Ghanaian and African realities, and authoritative in its research on Ghana and Africa at the highest levels of quality by any international measure.
She would work at making the University a home to, and welcoming to scholars of international standing from all over the world, and to students from a rich variety of cultures and backgrounds, saying the University had what it takes to attain this vision.
Source: Ghana News Agency