Today marks the beginning of a new era in the history of All Nations University as it conducts its first Graduation Ceremony as a chartered University.
Though the graduands will receive the degrees of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the ceremony could not be held under the auspices of the erstwhile All Nations University College as that legal entity no longer exists. Hence, the 1st Graduation of All Nations University.
Therefore, in honour of our former mentor Institution, KNUST we chose the theme for our first graduation to be: “Mentorship and Institutional Development for Quality Higher Education in Ghana”. Reasons and Purposes of Institutional Mentorship in Ghana
In 1948 when, the first University was established in the then Gold Coast it was established as the University College of the Gold Coast under the University of London.
To the credit of the British Colonial Administration of the Gold Coast nothing could have been more perfect than that. Because at that time, Gold Coast could not boast of having many natives with bachelors degrees, let alone holders of masters degrees which was the requirement for University teaching. So, it was necessary that the newly formed University College would need a mentor Institute for capacity building and guidance until such a time as the required academic infrastructure could be developed to become a full-fledged autonomous institution.
Consequently, the University College of the Gold Coast remained an affiliate of the University of London until 1961. Then on October 1, 1961 by an act of Parliament (Act 79) the University College of the Gold Coast became the University of Ghana.
The Kumasi College of Technology now known as the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology was also formed under the auspices of the University of London in the year 1952 and granted a full University status in 1961.
The University College of Cape Coast was later formed under the University of Ghana, Legon for a period of nine (9) years, from 1962 to 1971.
Ghana is famous for quality higher education and it is clearly evident from the brief history of how the University of Ghana, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Cape Coast were founded, that each benefited from the mentor/mentee relationship with older institutions.
However, when the founder and President formally approached the Government of Ghana in the late 1980’s for permission to begin the first private University in the country, permission was granted to establish the All Nations University in 1996. But later the National Accreditation Board (NAB) required that the new University should operate under an older institution for mentorship and institutional development.
Though the University received governmental approval way back in 1996, the charter class of 36 students began in 2002 under the mentorship of Karunya University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India.
Nevertheless, on 4th March, 2008 All Nations University College formalised an affiliation of mentorship with KNUST under the able leadership of the Keynote speaker today, Prof. Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa, the then Vice Chancellor of KNUST. Who, with open arms, accepted this Institution and All Nations University College became KNUST’s first mentee Institution.
KNUST & ANUC Relationship
It was not until the relationship with KNUST was formalised before the first batch of graduands were graduated in 2008, almost two years after the completion of their studies! And for that ANU will forever be grateful to Prof. Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa and KNUST.
As President of the College, I cannot count the numerous times I had to travel to Kumasi to have a sit down with the past Vice Chancellors to learn and to be guided by them. Particularly the mentorship of Prof. K.K Adarkwa was extremely helpful. Similarly, the relationship with Prof. William Otoo Ellis followed in the same vein.
Then in 2018 ANUC received a recommendation from the Vice Chancellor Prof. Kwasi Obiri-Danso for chartership. However, the application for chartership went through rigorous assessment by NAB and finally on 28th May, 2020 at Jubilee House, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo granted All Nations University College a Presidential Charter. Thus, making All Nations University a full-fledged University with the legal powers to grant its own degrees.
Thus, ANU owes a debt of gratitude to KNUST for mentoring, both the institution and the President to become one of the most innovative Universities in Space Science in Ghana that successfully built and launched a CubeSat for Ghana named GhanaSat1.
It is my fervent hope that ANU and KNUST can take this long-established relationship to a higher level under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Prof. Rita Akosua Dickson by establishing joint programmes and cross pollination of courses with transferable credits to both institutions. For example, a Semester of study at either institution should permit students to transfer credits earned at one institution to the other, towards the fulfilment of the degrees being pursued. Such collaboration will enrich student experience and expand their knowledge to the benefit of Ghana and Africa.
Making Mentorship Mutually Beneficial
Based on ANU’s empirical knowledge of mentorship we would like to see a well-defined and robust mentorship programme that would be mutually beneficial to both mentor and mentee institutions. Because an endless mentorship programme is a pain and demotivates mentee institutions as it undermines trust in the mentorship programme. Therefore, I wish to put forward a framework for effective institutional mentorship programme based on our experience.
This institutional mentorship programme would be based on a trimester model. Each term could be between 3-5 years. Such a precise term of reference for the mentorship programme will imbue trust between both institutions.
1st Term of Trimester
A University College must be co-governed with the Mentor Institution. That is the Mentor Institution must send a senior person to the mentee institution to be part of the life of the institution. To sit on committees, in order to help put in place robust structures for institutional development. This is key to quality and effective mentorship.
Initially, ANUC became a beneficially of such an arrangement with Karunya University which sent two faculty members from India to be part of our institution. The positive impact and blessing cannot be described within the scope of this speech. It did eliminate guesswork, unproven methodologies and try and error based on inexperience on the part of the mentee institution.
This approach will definitely infuse quality into the fabric of the mentee institution and will guide their development process.
At the end of the first term of the trimester a comprehensive assessment should be done to ascertain the progress made before promotion to the second term.
2nd Term of Trimester
During the second trimester, there wouldn’t be the need for the Mentor Institution to have a presence on the Mentee Campus but periodic visits must be made to ensure that established guidelines and protocols are being followed and implemented.
Visitation will focus on areas such as the following:
New programmes must be approved by mentor Institution before mentee institute can apply to NAB for accreditation.
At the end of the 2nd term of the trimester a comprehensive assessment should be done before promotion to the third and final trimester.
3rd Term of Trimester
This term should be characterised by limited supervision. The Mentee Institution should have the freedom to run the institution with minimal supervision. Is like a parent preparing his child to leave home to be on his own.
This critical period should be one of observation and guidance with involvement limited to three critical areas:
With representatives on both academic board and governing council, mentee institute should be able to graduate students without the mentor Institute’s Academic Board repeating the entire process again. Mentee Institute should be able to promote members of faculty without mentor institution hijacking the process.
The mentee Institution should also have the liberty to introduce new programmes without the mandate of the mentor Institution’s approval before NAB accredits the programme.
The mentor Institution should invite the mentee Leadership team to some of their meetings as observers.
Finally, before the end of the final trimester a review should be conducted and if found to be ready mentee should be made to apply for a Charter.
Pathway to Chartership
The above proposal gives a clear pathway to chartership without the uncertainty of not knowing when a mentee Institute will ever satisfy the Mentor’s undefined standards in order to be recommended to apply for a charter.
This will communicate clarity and eliminate ambiguity in the mentoring process.
Since mentorship and institutional development for quality higher education in Ghana is pivotal for the socio-economic development of Ghana and Africa as a whole. It is imperative that all efforts must go into making the process as effective as possible.
Thus, making mentorship an effective institutional capacity building tool for quality higher education. Hence when chartership is achieved; the relationship between the two institutions would be on the basis of strategic partnership and cooperation. As there would be no legal basis to extend mentorship in any other form or capacity.
2020 Graduating Class
Now to the Graduating class of 2020, the year of COVID-19, which disrupted everything we know to be normal; your life, academics, health, economics and indeed every aspect of life has been threatened by the COVID -19 pandemic. Yet, despite all the challenges the Coronavirus threw at you, you beat the odds to graduate. Congratulations Class of 2020! This attests to your resilience in the face of pushbacks and adversity. Henceforth, take a cue from this experience and know that you have what it takes to face and overcome every challenge that life may bring your way. Nevertheless, know that mentorship is the key to success in life. Do not assume that your graduation today marks the end of your learning. Rather, today marks the beginning of your professional development and that requires mentoring. Without that, learning can be slow and progress challenging.
On the other hand, if you embrace mentoring in your career development, your progress will be by leaps and bounds and your trajectory to the top will be short regardless of where you find yourself. May God lead you on with the humility to learn and serve. Always remember that at All Nations University you have been equipped for every good work.
Now to our Keynote Speaker Prof. K.K Adarkwa, all past and current Vice Chancellors, Pro Vice Chancellor, Registrar, Affiliations Officer, and the entire family of KNUST, we say thank you for your mentorship. For without your guidance and support we would not be where we are today.
To everyone present, it is with great pleasure to share the good news of starting ANU Graduate School programmes in January 2021 with you.
ANU will begin with three programmes. Namely;
Consequently, God has graciously blessed us with a great scholar, Prof. Senyo Adjibolosoo who just retired from the Nazarene University, Point Loma, California, USA to help the All Nations Graduate School to take off. Prof. Senyo, we welcome you as Dean of Graduate Studies at All Nations University. Thank you for accepting the offer to serve at ANU.
With heartfelt gratitude All Nations University wants to say a big thank you to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology for mentoring this Institution.
Secondly, to Karunya University for being the first University to mentor ANU.
Special appreciation for Dr. Kingsley Nyarko, Executive Secretary of NAB for working so hard to translate this dream into a reality.
Particularly, Prof. K. K Adarkwah for the love and dedication with which he ensured that KNUST took the challenge to mentor ANU.
Now, special thanks go to the Minister of Education, Hon. Matthew Opoku Prempeh for the diligence with which he liaised with the Presidency to facilitate the granting of the Charter.
Finally, with enormous gratitude and humility ANU says a big thank you to the President of the Republic, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for granting All Nations University a Charter to become an autonomous Institution.
Now to the Board of Governors, all invited guests, parents and graduating class of 2020, thank you for being part of All Nations University 1st Graduation and may God richly bless you and keep you safe from all harm in Jesus name!