Uphold integrity of legal profession – President Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stressed the need for members of the legal fraternity to carry out their work in ways that assert, at all material times, the integrity and special status of the legal profession.
He said although lawyers had played critical roles in securing Ghana’s independence, the foundation for the respect of the rule of law, individual liberties, human rights and the principles of democratic accountability, they have often do not make a good image for the profession.
The President made the call when he advised graduating students of the Faculty of Law of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).
The UPSA was holding the First Session of its 11th Congregation ceremony for the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Studies and the Faculty of Law, where a total of 326 students graduated with undergraduate degrees and diplomas.
President Akufo-Addo told the 45 law graduating students that, whereas lawyers have had the responsibility for setting the country on the road to freedom and national independence and progress, others have in recent years found ways to justify negative developments no matter how bizarre.
Pointing out the staunch defence put up by some Lawyers a few years ago, regarding the payment of fraudulently procured judgment debt as a case point, he said, it did not surprise him, the legal profession has attracted the most cynical of comments.
“We need to be aware of these criticisms and respond in a manner that asserts the integrity of the legal profession and its termination to uphold the rule of law. Upholding law and order is the basis of every organised and progressive society,” he said.
“As we seek to move our country to a situation beyond aid, I urge all Ghanaians to be natural champions of a law-based state, whose institutions are solid enough to sanction effectively vigilantism, bank frauds, cyber fraud, child trafficking, illegal mining, identity theft, stealing public funds, bribery and corruption, criminal cartels and criminal behavior, including assault on and by law enforcement officers.”
President Akufo-Addo announced that the consultations on the Public Universities Bill has been completed and would be laid before Parliament this year.
He assured that the bill, when laid before and passed by Parliament, would not stifle or undermine academic freedom.
The bill, would among others, the President noted, bring all the public universities under a common law, and make the administration of the public universities less cumbersome and more efficient.
“The flimsy allegations being perpetrated that the bill will undermine academic freedom are deliberate mischief-making and disingenuous. “My government and I are firm subscribers, as the bill amply demonstrates, to the cardinal importance of the principle of academic freedom in the development of all institutions of learning worth their salt,” he added.
The theme of the congregation, ‘Celebrating Professional and Scholarly Excellence for Accelerated Nation Building’, President Akufo-Addo indicated, reinforces the commitment of his government to ensuring that all of Ghana’s youth gain access, not only to senior high school education, but also to tertiary education.
This, he explained is a path “that represents the surest ways of equipping the citizenry with the requisite skills for national development.”
“Government is not sparing any efforts to make education in Ghana of the best quality, and fit for the needs of the 21st century,” he added.
The President further indicated that with a new curriculum set to be rolled out from kindergarten to Class 6 in primary schools, the new curriculum would focus on making Ghanaian children confident, innovative, digitally-literate, well-rounded and patriotic citizens.
Additionally, President Akufo-Addo stressed that all is set for the construction of 21 Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) centres, and als 10 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centres are being built around the country to provide support for the introduction of STEM into basic schools.
With adequate funding of tertiary education being one of the challenges of successive governments, he stated his government would establish a research fund for the purpose of funding relevant and sector-specific research work in institutions of higher learning. This, he said, is an addition to the Book and Research Allowance.
“We shall promote curriculum development to meet the skills and human resource demands of industry, create opportunities for work and study, and make training in entrepreneurship a cardinal component of the school system,” President Akufo-Addo said.
The President later cut the sod for the commencement of the construction of an artificial football pitch for the institution.