Ghana needs new science agenda – Prof. Asenso-Okyere

Ghana flagsProfessor Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, has called for a new science agenda that requires innovative educational and training approaches that respond to the human capital needs of the country.

He said basic schools should be equipped with good science and computer laboratories so that the pupils would be exposed to some simple experiments and develop computing skills.

Prof Asenso-Okyere  made the comment when he delivered the: “Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lecture” as part of the 2013 Founder’s Week Celebrations of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) in Accra.

This year’s Founder’s Week Celebration which is on theme: “Education for national development,” was attended by people from the academia as well as the public.

Prof Asenso-Okyere who spoke on the topic: “Science, Technology and Innovation for national development” urged parents who can afford to buy computers for their children in the early stages of their life as well as support the formation of science clubs at both junior and senior high schools to do so.

He advocated the arrangement of excursions for students to go to places where science is utilised in the production processes or exhibited like science fairs.

Prof Asenso-Okyere also called for the demystification of science and changes in the mind-set of people to love the discipline and its usefulness.

He said developing interest and building capacity in science is a long-term commitment which should be mainstreamed as part of the economic and social development of Ghana.

“There is nothing that is more valuable than developing the skills and competencies of people to enable them do their work well,” he added.

Prof Asenso-Okyere noted that practical learning should be promoted in the universities through attachment of students to the industrial and agricultural sectors for hand-on experience.

He said the curriculum in universities should reflect the needs of science, while the instructive techniques should incorporate new developments in technology including the use of ICT, case studies, discussions and class projects to facilitate learning and make knowledge more meaningful.

He called for the creation of learning platforms through the use of participatory methods of teaching which tend to increase retention of knowledge by students, content, performance as well as technology.

Prof Asenso-Okyere expressed the need for the policy on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) to be well spelt out and made part of the conditions of service so that researchers, inventors and institutions that employs them to know their rights and benefits especially when a technology is commercialised.

He stated that if the IPR is not favourable to the scientist it would dampen initiative for the development of new technologies.

He called for the provision of adequate infrastructure to enable Ghana harness the power of science, technology and innovation to meet its development objectives and be competitive in the international markets.

Prof Asenso-Okyere said science and technology should be seen as the engine of economic growth, adding that investing in science to improve the standard of living of people is investing in the future.

“Without developing and applying science in our everyday lives and activities, we stand to stagnate or diminish the livelihood of the people,” he said.

Source: GNA

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