Professor William Otoo Ellis, Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has expressed concern about the substantial exclusion of the country’s scientific and technology labour force from production.
He noted that despite the abundant supply of scientific and technology experts to support industrialisation, it contributes just below 27.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Prof. Otoo Ellis said it was time unemployed technical labour was committed to production in a nation, crawling through myriad of problems but not limited to health, nutrition, environment and transportation.
He said: “Ghana is gifted with young men and women with muscle and brain vigour, and the country stands to gain by harnessing these human resources for production in various sectors rather than letting them rot on our streets.
“China and India, the two countries with the fastest economic growth rates, boast of their achievements in the abundant supply of technical expertise, especially in the area of manufacturing of assorted goods such as automobiles, computers, building materials, electrical gadgets and finished foods”.
Prof Ellis, who was speaking at a “Research Conference”, in Kumasi, underlined the critical importance of a working workforce to development, saying, “It determines the wealth of every nation”.
It was co-organized by the Kumasi branch of Ghana Science Association (GSA) and the College of Science, KNUST, under the theme: “Harnessing indigenous scientific technological knowledge for development”.
The event provided the platform for scientists, people with technological skills, the media and the general public to discuss and share research information on new approaches to solving identified national problems.
Prof. Ellis lamented the rising costs of imported workforce and limited markets, which, he said, were partly responsible for the non-sustainable industrialization in many countries across Africa.
Dr Peter Twumasi, Branch President of the GSA, said with growing level of scientific and technological knowledge, the nation has no excuse to “miss the second wave of African industrial revolution necessary to solve many of our challenges”.
He expressed worry that some talented students were flocking into the business and humanity programmes, where they believe better jobs abounded.
“Even science graduates are getting retrained as business managers. This is worrisome. The trend cannot be reversed without corresponding creation of scientific and technological job opportunities on the market”, Dr Twumasi said, reminded the public that “it is scientific or technological ideas that creates realistic jobs in any economy”.