ON Thursday, September 30, 2010, Prof. Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa will officially bow out as the eighth Vice Chancellor (VC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and his seat will be occupied by Pro-Vice Chancellor, Prof E.O. Ellis.
Four years as the boss of one of Africa’s finest universities has been an eventful one for the Professor of Transportation Planning, who turns 60 on December 16, this year.
“It’s a stressful position but I am happy that I worked hard to build on the image of this great university,” Prof. Adarkwa told this writer in an interview at his office in Kumasi last week.
He plans to be with the university even when he leaves office as the Vice Chancellor, for he says, “I am going back to my department (Planning) to teach.”
The Aburi-Akuapem citizen served as the Pro-VC of KNUST during the vice-chancellorship of the late Prof Kwesi Andam.
“Initially, I didn’t want to be the Pro-VC because I had a lucrative job as a consultant. But upon the advice of Prof. Andam, I accepted the challenge and when his (Andam) term ended, I applied and became the VC in 2006,” he stated
When Prof. Adarkwa took over, there were a number of uncompleted projects in the university but through hard work and the team-play attitude that he employed, many of the projects were completed while new ones were also initiated, with most of them having been completed and inaugurated.
Among the physical development projects undertaken during his four-year administration were the rehabilitation of the Unity Hall roundabout, the construction of the Royal Parade Grounds, the examination halls/lecturers’ office complex, and the semi-detached bungalows, and the rehabilitation of 19 laboratories at the College of Science Department.
Other projects completed include the Business School Complex, the Students Clinic, rehabilitation of laboratories/classrooms at the School of Medical Sciences, and the construction of the Kwame Nkrumah statue.
Indeed projects completed during the tenure of office of Prof. Adarkwa are about 60, which were financed with internally generated funds and some government support, as well as other sources that came as interventions.
The KNUST has a population of 27,000, but has been able to stabilise the student population growth for some time and future growth is expected to be tied to improvement in infrastructural facilities.
Universities grow with introduction of new programmes of study. Over the period, various academic programmes have been introduced, including emergency nursing, veterinary medicine, real estate management, agriculture biotechnology, landscape design and management, petrochemical engineering and actuarial science.
The KNUST also expanded its scope of activities in the distance learning programmes from two to 14, out of which five are postgraduate programmes. As part of the expansion programme, offices have been established in all the regional capitals except Wa and Bolgatanga.
Under Prof. Adarkwa’s administration, there was a vast improvement in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy direction of the university.
Computer access on campus increased from 20 students to one computer in 2006 to eight students to one computer in 2010, while Internet connectivity was extended to halls of residence and many other areas of the university.
The achievements are enormous but suffice it to say that these were realised in the midst of some challenges.
The university machinery, according to Prof. Adarkwa, is very frustrating. Funds from the central government do not come in time, a situation that sometimes stalls development projects and programmes.
But the university has been able to do well through effective internal revenue generation to facilitate growth.
One remarkable moment for Prof. Adarkwa was the way he followed the path his predecessor trod with respect to admissions for students from less endowed schools.
As a result of the development, many students who would otherwise not have tasted university education found themselves in KNUST.
The students financial services office established at the KNUST is assisting many needy students to undertake their programmes of study.
Prof. Adarkwa, who holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Urban and Regional Planning from the Michigan State University in the USA, is a Fellow of the Ghana Institute of Planners, member of the Chartered Institute of Transport, the Ghana Institute of Logistics and Transport, the International Forum for Rural Transport Development and Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Prof. Adarkwa is married to Mrs Gertrude Adarkwa and they have two children.