The Brong Ahafo Region is gradually becoming a tertiary education hub with most of the universities concentrated within the regional capital, Sunyani.
Until late last year, there were three universities: the Catholic University College of Ghana (private), Valley View University – Techiman Campus (private) – and the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), which is a public university.
The latest addition is the Sunyani Technical University (STU) which is part of the polytechnics in the country which were converted into technical universities late last year.
Another private university, which has been established in the region, is the Anglican University College sited at Nkoranza.
The Sunyani Technical University
The Sunyani Technical University began as a technical institute in November 1967 to train middle level school leavers in technical courses with the first batch of 60 students.
It operated from then until January 1997 when it was upgraded to a polytechnic with a statutory objective and function to provide career-focused training at the tertiary level.
In 2016, the government enacted the Technical Universities Act (Act 922) to convert polytechnics into technical universities.
By this provision, the STU is mandated to provide higher education in Engineering, Science and Technology, Applied Art, Technical and Vocational Education and Training and other related disciplines and award its own degrees, diplomas, certificates and other qualifications agreed upon by the University Council with approval of appropriate regulatory and certification bodies.
Currently, the university has a staff population of 567 comprising 225 faculty members and 342 non-faculty members with 4,500 students, most of whom are HND students.
With its new mandate and status it is expected that the number of students will increase dramatically in the coming years.
The university currently has four faculties. They are the Faculty of Engineering; Faculty of Built Environment and Applied Art; and Faculty of Business and Management Studies.
It runs Bachelor of Technology Degree programmes in Accounting with Computing, Procurement and Management, Building Technology, Hospitality Management, Civil Engineering and Management and Entrepreneurial Studies.
It has also applied for accreditation to run a four-year Bachelor of Technology Programme in Electrical Engineering, General Agriculture, Pharmacy Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Construction Management and Quantity Surveying, Tourism Management, Fashion Design and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Partnership and collaborations
Even though the STU is partnering and collaborating with a number of tertiary educational institutions in Ghana and abroad, its partnership with Fachhochschule Dortmund (University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Dortmund, Germany) has come into focus recently.
On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, four officials of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Dortmund, Germany, led by the Vice Rector, Prof. Ing Helmut Hachul, paid a reciprocal visit to the STU to cement the partnership between the two educational institutions.
Other members of the team were Lars Everding, Vice Dean for Finance, Prof. Dr Tamara Appel and Dagmar Hosch of the International Study and Internship Abroad (The visit, a similar one by the Vice Chancellor of the STU, Prof. Engineer Kwadwo Adinkrah-Appiah, and the Registrar, Mr Samuel Ankama Obour, to Dortmund during which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two institutions).
Under the MoU, up to four students could take up their studies in the Electrical/Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Engineering faculties of the partner university.
Lecturers in both institutions would also exchange visits and share experiences to the benefit of the two universities.
Expatiating on the partnership between the two universities, Prof. Ing Adinkrah-Appiah said the STU found in its German counterpart a suitable partner for the achievement of its objectives.
He explained that the STU had chosen engineering as its flagship focus in the partnership since “we want to be the first university in the country to build an electric car”.
“We hope the partnership will build the capacity of the university to enable us to compete with universities in the country and everywhere in the world,” he stated.
Prof. Adinkrah-Appiah observed that notwithstanding the socio-economic advancement of Germany, it continued to invest in education and conduct research since that should be the focus of every smart country.
“We have gold, cocoa, oil and other valuable commodities but we continue to lag behind. We should, therefore, cooperate with a smart country such as Germany which is far ahead in technological development and tap their experience to catapult us to greatness,” he said.
For his part, Prof. Ing Helmut Hachul expressed the readiness of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Dortmund, to collaborate with the STU to break new grounds for both institutions.
He thanked officials of the STU, saying: “I am confident we are going to reap the benefits of this partnership in future.”
The Registrar of the STU, Mr Samuel Obour, explained that as part of the transition of polytechnics to university, the government decided that technical universities should have partnership agreements with their counterparts in Germany which were advanced in technological development.
“We, therefore, want this collaboration to have an impact on both our students and lecturers in particular and the entire country in general.”
He called on senior high school, as well as technical/vocational school leavers in the Brong Ahafo Region and beyond to enrol in the STU since with the upgrading there was a clear-cut academic progression for students for the technical/ vocational students.