THE naming ceremony of a university for revolutionary leader and former president of Burkina Faso Thomas Sankara, assassinated in 1987, has taken place.
Previously known as the University Ouaga II, the University Thomas Sankara (UTS) is situated on a 1,890 hectare campus at Gonsin, about three kilometres from the capital Ouagadougou.
It was renamed on 15 October under the patronage of prime minister Christophe Joseph Marie Dabiré, reported Sidwaya.
For the 2020-21 university year it will cater for about 27,000 students, 176 lecturers and researchers and 180 administrative staff, at a cost of nearly XOF30 billion (just over US$54 million), reported Sidwaya.
UTS President Professor Adjima Thiombiano said the university had great ambitions. “Our ideals are so great and so ambitious, we are merging hopes of a renaissance of the nation’s strengths through this campus. Science and integrity will be the foundation from where we will launch the whole of society to sustainable and harmonious development.”
‘Be a model of integrity’
Dabiré said Thomas Sankara’s name, embodying his values, was a symbolic choice for the future commitment of the university community. “Expectations are enormous, of Burkinabés, Africans and even other citizens of the world who recognise the man’s ideals, the road to total liberation, and self-development of so-called developing countries,” Sidwaya reported him as saying.
Professor Alkassoum Maïga, the minister for higher education, scientific research and innovation, called on the university’s personnel to be a model of integrity, while Sankaro’s sister, Blandine, hoped the university would take account of the hopes of the young people of the country, and those of the African continent.
Sankara has been described as a Marxist revolutionary, pan-Africanist theorist and president of Burkina Faso from 1983-87, who was “commonly referred to as ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’”, and who renamed the former French colony Upper Volta.
As well as his priority for fighting corruption, he reportedly carried out many educational, health, environmental and other social policies. He was killed in a coup d’état organised by Blaise Compaoré.
(Compiled by Jane Marshall| University World News)