Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology popularly called KNUST is a university in Kumasi, Ashanti of Ghana. The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology is the largest public university established in the Ashanti region within the Kumasi Metropolis. The University has its roots in the plans of the King Asantehene Agyeman Prempeh I to establish a university in Kumasi as part of his drive towards modernization of his Ashanti kingdom. This plan never came to fruition due to the clash between British empire expansion and the desire for King Prempeh I to preserve his Ashanti kingdom’s independence.
However, his younger brother and successor, King Asantehene Agyeman Prempeh II, upon ascending to the Golden Stool in 1935, continued with this vision. Events in the Gold Coast in the 1940s played into his hands. First there was the establishment of the University College of the Gold Coast. Second there were the 1948 riots and the consequent Watson Commission report which recommended that a university of sciences be established in Kumasi. Thus, in 1949, the dream of the Prempehs became a reality when building started on what was to be called the Kumasi College of Technology.
The Kumasi College of Technology offered admission to its first students to the engineering faculty in 1951 (they entered in 1952), and an Act of Parliament gave the university its legal basis as the Kumasi College of Technology in 1952. The nucleus of the college was formed from 200 teacher training students transferred from Achimota in the Greater Accra Region. The college was affiliated to the University of London. In 1961, the college was granted full university status.
The main university campus, which is about seven square miles in area, is about eight miles (13 km) to the east of Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital.
The History of KNUST
The University of Science and Technology succeeded the Kumasi College of Technology which was established by a Government Ordinance on 6th October, 1951. It was however, opened officially on 22nd January, 1952 with 200 Teacher Training students transferred from Achimota, to form the nucleus of the new College.
In October, 1952, the School of Engineering and the Department of Commerce were established and the first students were admitted. From 1952 to 1955, the School of Engineering prepared students for professional qualifications only. In 1955, the School embarked on courses leading to the University of London Bachelor of Engineering External Degree Examinations.
A Pharmacy Department was established in January, 1953, with the transfer of the former School of Pharmacy from Korle-Bu Hospital, Accra, to the College. The Department ran a two-year comprehensive course in Pharmacy leading to the award of the Pharmacy Board Certificate.
A Department of Agriculture was opened in the same year to provide a number of ad hoc courses of varying duration, from a few terms to three years, for the Ministry of Agriculture. A Department of General Studies was also instituted to prepare students for the Higher School Certificate Examinations in both Science and Arts subjects and to give instruction in such subjects as were requested by the other departments.
Once established, the College began to grow and in 1957, the School of Architecture, Town Planning and Building was inaugurated and its first students were admitted in January, 1958, for professional courses in Architecture, Town Planning and Building. As the College expanded, it was decided to make the Kumasi College of Technology a purely science and technology institution. In pursuit of this policy, the Teacher Training College, with the exception of the Art School, was transferred in January, 1958, to the Winneba Training College, and in 1959 the Commerce Department was transferred to Achimota to form the nucleus of the present School of administration of the University of Ghana, Legon.
Accession to University Status – The birth of KNUST
In December, 1960, the Government of Ghana appointed a University Commission to advise it on the future development of University Education in Ghana, in connection with the proposal to transform the University College of Ghana and the Kumasi College of Technology into an independent University of Ghana.
Following the report of the commission which came out early 1961, Government decided to establish two independent Universities in Kumasi and at Legon near Accra.
The Kumasi College of Technology was thus transformed into a full-fledged University and renamed Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology by an Act of Parliament on 22nd August, 1961.
The University’s name was changed to University of Science and Technology after the Revolution of 24th February, 1966. The University of Science and Technology was officially inaugurated on Wednesday, 20th November, 1961. However, by another act of Parliament, Act 559 of 1998, the University has been renamed Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.