Build bridges of reconciliation - President tells new UEW VC
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Professor Anthony Afful Broni, to build bridges of reconciliation to help chart a path of progress for the university.
In apparent reference to the issues that led to the interdiction of the former Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mawutor Avoke, and the subsequent appointment and induction of Prof. Broni into office yesterday, President Akufo-Addo asked Prof. Broni to put the issues of the immediate past behind him and use his gift and spirit of reconciliation to unite all for the growth of the university.
Prof. Broni is the first Catholic priest to become vice-chancellor of a public university in the country.
His appointment was, however, embroiled in controversy following the interdiction of Prof. Avoke and the accompanying legal battles.
The President joined the university for the induction ceremony as part of his four-day visit to the Central Region which ended yesterday.
President Akufo-Addo said recent happenings at the university were a cause of concern to all, adding that he was happy that the stakeholders worked within the confines of the law to ensure that a substantive vice-chancellor was inducted.
He said he and his government would support the administration of Prof. Broni to pursue his agenda to transform the university.
President Akufo-Addo said he was convinced that the vice-chancellor’s wealth of experience in church matters and in the classroom would help make him a game-changer.
He said Prof. Broni’s induction was a mark of the trust the governing council and faculty had reposed in him and expressed the hope that the trust would not be broken.
President Akufo-Addo pledged the government’s commitment to work to restore the teaching profession to its former status, not as a last resort but a dignifying career choice for the youth.
"Teaching must no longer be seen as a stop-gap measure or a job of last resort, but as a viable choice to enter a well-paid, well-respected profession with long-term career prospects," he stated.
Touching on the licensure examination, President Akufo-Addo said the examination was not meant to put impediments in the way of professionalism in teaching.
"If teaching is important to us, then it requires that we maintain the highest standards," he stated.
The President said one of the challenges facing education was the increasing enrolment in schools, saying that the development required ideas and innovation to surmount.
He maintained that the free senior high school (SHS) policy was in to stay, saying he was happy that the UEW had taken steps to prepare for the influx of students expected from the policy.
The Chairman of the UEW Governing Council, Professor Nicholas Abakah, said the university needed someone with strong moral character and strength in leadership skills to lead it into future expansion and growth.
In his speech, Prof. Broni said the history of his accession to the helm of affairs of the university reinforced the principle that it paid to be disciplined, humble, honest and strive for what was right, no matter the challenges.
He admitted that the stakes and expectations were high and said: "l dare not fail.”
The vice-chancellor pledged to assemble the best team to pursue innovative policies for growth and for the university to continue to maintain high international standards.
He said it was obvious that his investiture would generate high expectations, which required high-level ideas and innovation for the growth and expansion of the university.
He said the university was in support of the free SHS policy and would, therefore, provide the necessary infrastructure in anticipation of the graduates of the policy.
Born in November 1960, Prof. Broni was ordained a Catholic priest at the St Francis de Sales Cathedral in Cape Coast.
He began his tertiary career at the University of Education, Winneba as a lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Education, as well as research fellow at the Centre for Educational Policy Studies, in 2000.
He rose to become a senior lecturer in 2005, associate professor in 2012 and full professor in 2014.
Prof. Broni was the Head of Department of Psychology and Education from 2004 to 2008; Director, Centre for Educational Policy Studies, from 2008 to 2009, during which period he chaired and served on a number of local, national and international committees and boards.
He was elected Pro Vice-Chancellor of the UEW for two consecutive terms.
In 2017, he was appointed by the Governing Council of the university as acting Vice-Chancellor.
His term will end on September 30, 2021.