Professor Ernest Aryeetey, a Development Economist, was on Monday inducted into office as the eleventh Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana to lead its transformation agenda for the next four years.
The induction makes Professor Aryeetey the 8th Ghanaian to occupy the office of the Vice-Chancellor of the UG since its establishment in 1948.
Mr. Kofi Annan, Chancellor of the UG, administered the Oath of Office to Professor Aryeetey before a packed audience comprising academics, diplomats, Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, traditional rulers and students at the Great Hall of the university at Legon, Accra.
In his acceptance speech, Professor Aryeetey pledged to transform the institution into a world class university, which would not be just degrees awarding institution but one that “would produce graduates who could achieve the same degree of learning and knowledge acquisition as they would have, had they gone to university in places like Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester, Reading amongst others”.
He therefore, outlined seven areas that he would pursue vigorously to make the UG a world class institution which include: Promoting academic excellence through enhanced teaching and learning and leadership training, promoting academic excellence through significantly expanded and relevant research and extension, overhaul of governance arrangements in administration, teaching and research and better management of university assets and facilities.
The rest are: scale-up efforts towards equal opportunities in gender and diversity, enhanced fund-raising activities at unit and central administration levels and mainstream and enforce structures and processes for monitoring and evaluation.
He said: “I am very committed to making this university a research university to support the process of structural transformation in Ghana and Africa” adding, “this means to increase significantly the amount and the quality of research being done by the faculty and students”.
Professor Aryeetey announced a continuous “rationalization of undergraduate programmes and student numbers to make the most efficient use of space and human resources” as well as work with all faculties and colleges to set specific targets in terms of graduate training and research output for specific periods.
He announced that the University of Ghana Medical School, the Dental School and all other component units of the College of Health Sciences would be relocated to the main campus of the university to aid the interdisciplinary approaches to university education, which ensured that all disciplines learned from one another.
He said this was an old dream of the UG adding “this would provide greater opportunity for our future doctors to interact with other scientists, including those from the social sciences”.
“I will pursue vigorously the development of a viable teaching hospital in Legon for this purpose as well as the development of other infrastructure for this undertaking”, the new Vice-Chancellor assured.
Professor Aryeetey said students of the university would remain major stakeholders in his pursuit to modernize the university adding “I will support students’ improved access to information through enhanced Information Communication Technology facilities as foundation for developing their knowledge to enable them to make more significant contributions towards the modernization of the university and its programmes for learning”.
He recognised that achieving his vision depended on the amount of resources available to the university and therefore, announced the creation of a Central Development Office to coordinate fund-raising processes to generate more funds to support the university’s activities.
He said all Colleges and Faculties would be attached to a well-trained Development Officer whose main responsibility would be to assist with development of project proposals and the search for financial assistance from potential donors.
Touching on the court case between the UG and the Commonwealth Hall over the intended conversion of the latter into a mixed-gender graduate hall, the new Vice-Chancellor said he wanted the case resolved as quickly as possible to ensure that Commonwealth Hall played a lead role in the process of transforming the university into a world class institution.
He therefore, assured that “I accept the right of Commonwealth Hall students to contribute to discussions of what form this would take”.
Professor Aryeetey paid glowing tribute to former Vice-Chancellors of the UG for their roles, which had brought the university to its current status despite the challenges.
He also thanked the Council of the UG for the confidence reposed in him adding “I am ready for the task”.
Professor Clifford Nii Boi Tagoe, immediate former Vice-Chancellor of UG, recounted his stewardship saying the university had seen considerable progress in terms of infrastructure, restructuring of courses, introduction of more courses and schools amongst others.
Professor Tagoe thanked Council Members, staff and other stakeholders of the UG for their invaluable support and advice throughout his tenure.
He sounded a caution to the country’s education authorities to fund higher education because it would help produce quality human resource to mentor those at the lower levels.
He said the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) law must not be reviewed in a manner that would short-change higher education because this might reverse the gains made over the years.
“Lest we re-enact the difficulties of the 1980s and 1990s where higher education suffered traumatic reverses” he warned.
Justice Dr. Date-Bah, Chairman of Council of the UG, expressed appreciation to Professor Tagoe for his achievements at the university, acknowledging that even though he was appointed at a time the status of UG was sinking, he was able to reverse the trend.
To the new Vice-Chancellor, Justice Date-Bah said a lot was expected of him to move the UG to a higher level.
He assured him of Council’s support to succeed.
Profile: Profile Aryeetey
Professor Ernest Aryeetey, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ghana is a Professor of Economics. Prior to his appointment as Vice-Chancellor, he was a Senior Fellow and Director of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C. He was also Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, Legon for the period February 2003 – January 2010.
Professor Aryeetey was educated at Achimota School (1968-1973) and at the Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School, Legon (1973-1975). He studied Economics with Statistics (1975-1978) at the University of Ghana and took a Masters degree in Regional Planning at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi (1979-1981) and obtained a Doktor-Ingenieur at the University of Dortmund, Germany in 1985. Ernest Aryeetey’s area of specialisation is Development Economics. He was elected Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009.
After teaching on the Spring Programme at the University of Dortmund for a year, Ernest Aryeetey returned to Ghana in 1986 to start work as a Research Fellow at the University of Ghana’s Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER). He was promoted Senior Research Fellow in 1990, Associate Professor in 1997 and a full Professor in 2000. Ernest Aryeetey taught at the Department of Economics, University of Ghana (1986-1992). He has also been Temporary Lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1993); Visiting Professor at Yale University Department of Economics (1999); and the Cornell Visiting Professor, Department of Economics at Swarthmore College (2001-2002).
Ernest Aryeetey’s research work focuses on the economics of development with interest in institutions and their role in development, regional integration, economic reforms, financial systems in support of development and small enterprise development. He is very well known for his work on informal finance and microfinance in Africa. He has consulted for various international agencies on a number of development and political economy subjects. He has presented seminar papers at Departments of Economics and Planning in such universities as Ohio State University, the University of Manchester, Oxford University, Harvard University, Yale University, New York University, University of Copenhagen, University of California, Los Angeles, Georgetown University, and Sophia University, Tokyo.
Ernest Aryeetey has published 3 books, 5 edited volumes, 32 journal articles and over 100 conference, working and discussion papers. Among his publications are Financial Integration and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa (Routledge 1998) and Economic Reforms in Ghana: the Miracle and the Mirage (James Currey 2000). His latest publication is with Chris Udry in the American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings (May 2010). He was the second recipient of the Michael Bruno award of the World Bank to become a Visiting Scholar for May-October 1998.
Ernest Aryeetey was the President of the Ghana Institute of Planners (1998-2000). He is currently the Chairman of the Board of the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), Helsinki. He is Board Member of the Global Development Network, New Delhi and also of the Centre for Development Research at the University of Bonn, Germany. He was previously a Member of the Programme Committee of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Nairobi (2005-2009). He has been associated with AERC since 1988.
Professor Aryeetey was a Managing Editor of the Journal of African Economies and is currently a member of the editorial board of Development Southern Africa and of African Development Review. He was until recently the Editor of the New Legon Observer.
Professor Aryeetey is a non-Executive Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana Ltd. He was Priest’s Warden of Christ Anglican Church, Legon (2003-2010.
Professor Aryeetey is married to Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey and has two children, James Nii Armah and Felicia Naa Dedei.