Prof. Rita Dickson sets eyes on programmes to deepen employment creation

The new Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prof. (Mrs.) Rita A. Dickson has committed to pursuing substantial entrepreneurship content, as part of her vision to deepen KNUST’s contribution towards helping to tackle graduate unemployment, in the country.

This includes the setting up of Career Development and Skills Centers, an Entrepreneurship Support Fund, Youth Entrepreneurship Challenges among others, in line with the government’s policy on ‘Students Entrepreneurship Initiative.’

“We would also continue to drive industry-based internship programmes to foster relevant work experience for our students. We will continue to champion the ‘STEM FOR GIRLS’ initiative.”

Prof. (Mrs.) Rita A. Dickson observed that it is an irrefutable responsibility for KNUST “to train graduates who emerge as renowned entrepreneurs, leaders in innovation and technology, leaders in the community, leaders in business, leaders in their chosen fields, leaders in change and leaders in the broader society.”

Announcing her vision for the KNUST at her investiture, as she takes over as the first-ever female Vice-Chancellor of the school, she noted that the growing population of the university required creativity in the approach to handle instruction delivery.

To this end, she said among others that the school would endeavour to improve teaching and learning environments by enhancing curricula, pedagogy, culture, infrastructure and digital technologies.

At the back of the impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 on education, the new Vice-Chancellor intimated that the need for ICT in teaching and instruction is now more relevant than ever before.

She said significant initiatives involving e-strategies will be rolled out in the coming days to facilitate teaching and learning experience.

“There will be the establishment of a more resilient and robust e-learning system that ensures seamless academic work all year round.”

Additionally, she said the use of smart technologies for both synchronous and asynchronous teaching, learning, assessments, research & university operations, among others would be upscaled.

She said KNUST will roll out a project dubbed Support One Needy Student with One Laptop (SONSOL PROJECT) in the coming days in collaboration with its philanthropists and key stakeholders.

This is also at the back of the outbreak of COVID-19 which she said has affected a greater majority of needy students of the university, who are unable to access online resources because they do not have the requisite electronic gadgets.

Prof. (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson is the 11th Vice-Chancellor and the first female to ascend to the highest office of Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

The Professor of Pharmacognosy was also the first female Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences of KNUST and now takes over from Prof. Kwasi Obiri-Danso as the vice-chancellor.

The Chancellor of the University, Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, said KNUST has been very fortunate to have had visionary leaders who led this great institution through periods of significant development and acknowledged the contribution of all the past vice-chancellors.

He reckoned that technology has greatly influenced teaching and learning practices, offering new ways to perform, mediate and provide education, and to obtain information.

“The challenge that it brings, therefore, requires a special set of skills and knowledge to provide the best practice available.

Added to this challenge is the dreaded COVID-19 Pandemic which has also resulted in an unprecedented need for reforms and new ways to the conduct of human affairs. It has thus, created significant challenges for the global higher education community and KNUST is no exception.”

The Asantehene, who was speaking at a ceremony to induct the new Vice-Chancellor into office, however, was very optimistic that Prof. (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson would be successful in guiding the school through these difficulties.

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