The year 2020 was greeted with much excitement and expectations because of its uniqueness. Not only because it was a leap year but also because it marked the start of a new decade. These excitements and expectations were however short-lived due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the nations of the world, which has marred a huge part of the year.
By 11th March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic. The pandemic has taken a significant toll on people and economies all across the world. As of June, over 8 million people had been infected, with the death toll reaching over 390,000. Educational systems, freedom of movement and social gatherings have also had their share of the impact. And the Church has not been spared either.
That notwithstanding, The Church of Pentecost has chalked some unforgettable milestones that give us the cause to celebrate the faithfulness of God despite the prevalent sense of pessimism. One of such historic milestones took place on Thursday, May 28, 2020, at the Jubilee House when the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo presented the Charter Certificate to Pentecost University College making it a full-fledged university.
This 48-year dream of the institution was realised after Pentecost University met the stringent requirements under regulation 20, clause 2, of the Tertiary Institutions regulations, 2010, Legislative Instrument (LI) 1984, which enjoins the National Accreditation Board (NAB) to consider the length of the period (not less than 10 years) within which the university has successfully operated under the supervision of a mentoring institution, the governance structure of the university, as well as the quality of teaching, research, academic staff and work of the university.
Other key points of consideration before the charter was granted to the university were the financial, material and teaching facilities and resources at the disposal of or owned by the university and any other factors that the NAB deemed appropriate.
That is to say that, in Ghana, the university charter is granted when there is enough evidence that the institution has satisfied all the requirements of academic excellence set out by the National Accreditation Board (NAB), together with related institutions under the Ministry of Education. No wonder that out of the 91 accredited private tertiary institutions in Ghana, only 7 of them, including the Pentecost University, have merited the presidential charter. Therefore, once the charter is granted, the university is transitioned into an autonomous institution with the capacity to award its own degrees in conformity with the laws of Ghana.
As we count our blessings, we must not forget to give God the glory due to His name for His abounding grace and blessings upon His church. He has been and continues to be faithful to The Church of Pentecost. May His Great Name be praised from generation to generation.
Apostle Dr Daniel Okyere Walker, the Rector of Pentecost University, under whose tenure this momentous milestone was realised, and his team and the students deserve commendation for the great work done.
All past Chairmen of The Church of Pentecost, past rectors, as well as past staff and students of the university whose diverse contributions has helped to propel the institution to such a commendable height also ought to be acknowledged.
It is worth noting that a lot of factors and decisive interventions made by the leadership of the church also contributed massively to what has been achieved. Prominent amongst them were the integration of the then Pentecost University College and the erstwhile Pentecost Theological Seminary (now School of Theology, Leadership and Missions) and the directive by leadership encouraging the various Assemblies, Districts and Areas to provide educational sponsorship for members to pursue higher learning at the university.
As a result, out of the 876 students admitted for the 2019/2020 academic year, 392 students were sponsored by the various Areas and Districts to the university. This upsurge in student enrolment went a long way to boost the financial strength of the university in an era when most private tertiary institutions are struggling financially.
We thank God for the wisdom He continues to grant the leadership of the church to navigate difficult situations. However, as we bask in the glory of attaining the Presidential charter, we must not forget the all-important advice President Akufo-Addo gave to the university at the charter presentation event.
The President urged Pentecost University to justify its new status as a full-fledged university by continuing to improve and introduce more innovative programmes and courses that will equip students with the requisite skills and competencies needed to impact the country and transform the economy. He also cautioned that the NAB will closely monitor the university especially in the areas of concern as prescribed by law.
In other words, a clarion call was issued to Pentecost University, and to a large extent The Church of Pentecost, not to rest on our oars but to continue to pursue excellence in order to realise the university’s vision of becoming the Number One faith-based university in Africa. This, however, demands a concerted effort by all stakeholders – the Church, Staff and Students.
The Church of Pentecost must lead this effort because of the instrumental role she has played in the attainment of this Presidential Charter. Now more than ever, the church must continue to provide the needed support, both advisory and financial, to the university to be able to live up to its new status.
The leadership of the church has already taken a bold and concrete step in this regard with the launch of The Church of Pentecost Chairman’s Education Foundation (COPCEF). The foundation is targeting to raise $100 million in 10years to provide scholarship opportunities to deserving students in need and also contribute massively to the infrastructural development of the university. So far, COPCEF has been able to realise about GH¢1.5million. Members of the church of good financial standing, as well as the general public, are encouraged to support this laudable cause.
The various Areas and Districts who sponsored members to the university are commended for their great effort and encouraged to continue to provide such interventions to support the youth of the church while helping to ensure that Pentecost University remains financially robust.
Church leaders must also create awareness at the various levels of the church and encourage their members to make Pentecost University the tertiary institution of choice for their wards. Church members must also turn up in their numbers to support the university during PU Offering days. The PU Offering day is an annual event dedicated to raising funds to support the operations of Pentecost University (PU) at the various levels. Church leaders are, thereby, encouraged to take this very seriously.
Staff and Students of the university, on their part, must continue to pursue excellence in all facets. Indeed, the exceptional performances of the students and staff helped the university to win several coveted awards in the preceding year. Among them were: The Most Outstanding and Overall Best Private University; Best Private University for Communication Studies; Best Nursing and Midwifery Institution in Ghana and the largest Association of Business Executives (ABE) centre in West Africa and one of the top 40 ABE centres globally.
The outgoing Rector, Apostle Dr Walker, for instance, was awarded Most Respected CEO and Most Outstanding CEO of Private Universities by the Ghana Industry CEOs Awards and the Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) Ghana Tertiary Awards respectively. The Vice-Rector, Elder Prof. Omane Atwi, was also honoured for his outstanding contribution to the Accountancy Sector and for serving as a pioneer president of the Ghana Institute of Directors.
With God on our side, when the Church continues to do her part and Staff and Students of Pentecost University continue to do exploits, then certainly the vision to become the Number One faith-based university in Africa will take less than 48 years to achieve.