The government of China has extended a $60 million grant to Ghana for the second phase work on the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) in Ho in the Volta Region.
Under the agreement, the grant will facilitate the construction of a new central administration block building for the College of Nursing and Midwifery and duty and equipment room all on land covering a total of 29,200 square meters.
Part of the grant will also be used to purchase furniture, teaching aids and other supporting facilities for some schools in the university.
The Phase Two project at the UHAS was part of a number of agreements that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo signed when he visited China and attended the Forum on Cooperation (FOC) at the Beijing Summit last year.
Last Friday a signing ceremony was held in Accra at which the Minister of Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, and the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Shi Ting Wang, exchanged notes on the project.
Present at the ceremony were a Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Basic and Secondary Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, Ghana’s Ambassador to China, Mr. Edward Boateng, and the Vice-Chancellor of UHAS, Professor John Owusu Gyapong.
Having signed the agreement, the way was now opened for works design to commence in May this year. The project, meanwhile, is expected to be completed in two years.
The first phase of construction of the UHAS was also funded by the Chinese government and handed over officially to Ghana in September 2015.
The works covered a total land area of about 10,386 square meters and comprised lecture halls, libraries, staff residential areas and student hostels.
The funding also took charge of equipment for the School of Basic and Biomedical Sciences .
Mr. Ofori-Atta described the phase two project of UHAS as a major milestone that would boost bilateral relations between the two countries.
“Education plays a pivotal role in development and for this reason, we are vigorously pursuing a free senior high school policy.
As a country, we require a strategic partnership to implement our development policies to achieve our medium-to-long-term objectives and China is a key partner in achieving that objective,” he said.
He gave an assurance that the facility that had been advanced by the Chinese government would be put to good use.
Mr. Ofori-Atta also said the government would do all within its means to provide the counterpart funding for the project to ensure that it was completed on schedule.
For his part, Mr. Wang said China would continue to partner Ghana to deliver quality education to her citizens.
He noted that the development of any economy depended on the robustness of its education system.
“Of course, the cooperation between our two countries in the field of education does not stop here.
Presently, of the 6,000 African students in China, Ghana has the largest number,” he said.
He stressed that it was important for Ghana to invest more in education in order to accelerate her development agenda.
Dr. Adutwum described the UHAS Phase Two project as a targeted investment given the fact that Ghana was redirecting her focus to improving Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) education.
He said the government would seek more partnerships to resource technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions to produce a skilled and technical human resource that would help build the country.
Meanwhile, Prof. Gyapong said the UHAS Phase Two project was timely and would help to address key challenges facing the institution.
“It has come at an opportune time, especially when we are bracing up to increase intake with the coming on stream of products from the free senior high school (FSHS) programme.
The project is a big boost for us and I hope the government will provide the counterpart funding in time to start it,” he said.
He also called for steps to be taken to improve the road network in and around the university.