The President of Ghana, John Mahama, has conferred the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, University of Ilorin, Prof. Chukwuka Okonjo, with the Member of the Order of the Volta (MV).
This is contained in the university’s current bulletin which said that Okonjo was among 33 people recognised on Oct. 29, for their distinguished services to national development.
The bulletin said that the pro-chancellor was honoured for his outstanding contributions to the development of education in Ghana, especially in the field of Population Studies.
It stated that Okonjo, a holder of the honours award of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR), is also the Obi of Ogwashi-Ukwu Kingdom, Delta State.
The honouree, a Professor of Economics, joined the United Nations (UN) in 1974 and was posted to the University of Ghana, Legon, co-funded by the Government of Ghana and the UN, as Director of the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS).
Quoting the Ghanaian President, the publication stated that Okonjo left the UN in 1985, and served as an Advisor at the Ministry of Education of Ghana from 1987 to 1990.
“During this period, Okonjo was instrumental in conceptualising and implementing reforms on the structure of the Ministry of Education and the educational system itself,” President Mahama said.
The bulletin stated that the pro-chancellor also contributed to the length of the pre-tertiary education being reduced from 17 to 12 years, with the contact hours taught being raised from 12,392 to 12,400.
“Secondary School admission was increased tenfold from 26,000 to 260,000, and Primary school enrolment grew at a rate of 12 per cent per annum, twice the rate proposed for the country by the World Bank.
“Plans for the rationalisation of tertiary education were completed and a mass adult education programme commenced during the period that Prof. Okonjo was an Advisor at the Ghanaian Ministry of Education,” it quotes the Ghanaian president as saying.
According to the publication, Okonjo’s tenure as the Director of the RIPS Institute, Ghana, witnessed the establishment of a $350,000 Computing Centre.
It stated that he developed the first African Population Information Network, the Population Information and Documentation System for Africa (PIDSA) in addition to producing two journals.
It said 437 postgraduate students successfully completed the programme in Population Studies, consequently, the United Nations resolved to take up sole sponsorship of the Institute.
Mahama said the University of Ghana upgraded the Diploma programme to 12 months Master of Arts and 18 months Master of Philosophy courses.
“It also set up a Doctor of Philosophy programme lasting 36 months. This was as a result of the good performance of the students of the Institute produced,” Mahama observed.
“In recognition of your outstanding contribution to Education in Ghana, especially in Population Studies, the Republic confers on you: Professor Chukwuka Okonjo, the State honour of Member of the Order of the Volta (MV),” said the publication.