Akufo-Addo opens 3rd Applied Research Conference of Technical Universities

General News Akufo-Addo opens 3rd Applied Research Conference of Technical Universities

President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday opened the 3rd Applied Research Conference of Technical Universities, which is currently underway at the Sunyani Technical University in Sunyani.

Researchers from all the ten technical universities and industry players are exploring various research areas during the five-day conference, which is on the theme: “University, Industry and Government partnership for accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship for national development.”

Opening the conference, President Akufo-Addo noted that the tripartite partnership between the academia, industry and the government is essential for the advancement of innovation and entrepreneurship which are key cornerstone for national development.

Commitment in STEM
The President reiterated his government's commitment to advancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education in Ghana and emphasized the crucial role of STEM education in driving economic growth and societal progress.

He noted that the rapid advancements in fields such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and renewable energy present unprecedented opportunities. To fully leverage these opportunities, the President stressed the need to equip the workforce with the necessary skills and knowledge.

"Government, through the Ministry of Education, has invested heavily in the development of high-quality STEM institutions and programs," President Akufo-Addo stated. He highlighted the ongoing construction of the Accra STEM Academy, a school dedicated to the teaching and learning of STEM subjects, which is set to be commissioned this year.

The President also mentioned the development of 20 STEM Centres and 10 model STEM Senior High schools across the country, seven of which are already operational. These schools are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories to facilitate teaching and learning in areas such as artificial intelligence and robotics. The remaining three schools will be completed by the end of the year.

In addition to new facilities, he said the government has prioritized the refurbishment and modernization of existing science laboratories. Under the STEM Education Enhancement Programme, launched in 2019, the construction of 186 new science labs in various regions of Ghana has been undertaken. These labs are equipped with modern, specialized equipment to facilitate hands-on learning and experimentation.

The President noted that these initiatives are aligned with the government's commitment to sponsoring a culture of scientific inquiry and innovation. By providing training and resources for teachers, the government aims to encourage greater participation of youth and girls in STEM fields.

President Akufo-Addo emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to innovation and noted that many of the challenges faced today, such as climate change, public health crises, and sustainable development, require solutions that draw on multiple fields of expertise, adding that by boosting collaboration across disciplines, more holistic and effective solutions can be developed.

The President also acknowledged the extraordinary work done by the Ministry of Education, led by Hon Yaw Osei Adutuwum, in modernizing the educational system. He praised the efforts of individuals like Fred Asamoah, Director General of COTVET, for their contributions to advancing education in Ghana.

Substantial support
President Akufo-Addo highlighted the substantial financial support provided for research and book allowances, amounting to over GH¢700 million since 2020. These investments, he said, are crucial for creating an environment conducive to scholarly investigation and innovation.

He urged all stakeholders to commit to strengthening partnerships and leveraging collective expertise to advance Ghana's development, saying: "Together, we can build a brighter future for our nation, characterized by innovation, inclusivity, and prosperity."

“It is through such partnerships that we can harness the full potential of our intellectual, technical and financial resources. Universities, especially technical universities, should play a pivotal role in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. This should be the breeding grounds for new ideas, the incubators of young talents in laboratory and technological advancements.”

By focusing on applied research, the President said technical universities should bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application; thus, contributing directly to fixing societal needs.

Welcoming the participants earlier, Prof. Justice Solomon Korantwi-Barimah, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Sunyani Technical University encouraged participants to avail themselves to the various presentations and discussions during the conference and come out with a roadmap towards the implementation of key decisions that would be taken at the event for accelerated national development.

In his view, the conference has come at an opportune time as it provides an answer to the age-long call by well-meaning Ghanaians for a closer collaboration between academia, industry and government in proffering solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting the nation.

He said partnerships lead to increase in knowledge, expertise, and great resources available toward the achievement of agreed targets.

“Consequently, an effective partnership between the Technical Universities, Industry and Government should be the best model in addressing most of the country’s challenges, especially with regards to job creation and employment generation for the youth of the country.”

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Education and Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Minister, took turns to tout great strides made in the education sector, especially in STEM education and in job creation.

Professor Daniels Kwabena Obeng-Ofori, the Foundation Vice-Chancellor of the Catholic University of Ghana, presided over the official opening ceremony.

Each of the participating technical universities mounted an exhibition stand to showcase their creativity and innovative skills as part of the programme.

Richard Kofi Boahen
Richard Kofi Boahen

Bono, Bono East and Ahafo CorrespondentPage: RichardBoahen