The Principal of the Methodist University College, Ghana, Very Rev. Prof. Samuel Adjapong, has called for the separation of the science component of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports.
“We should have a separate ministry of science and technology if we want to develop science and technology. When science is merged with education and sports, there are competing interests and the budget of that ministry would not be big enough for science to have the visibility it needs”.
Prof. Adjapong who was speaking to the Daily Graphic, said no country could develop without science, technology and innovation which constituted the fuel for the engine of growth.
“It is unfortunate that we no longer have the ministry of science and technology. I think we should go back and have that ministry instead of merging science, education and sports together”.
He stressed the need for a crusade to get the country's scientists together, challenge them and develop the interest of the youth in science by having incentives to whip up interest, adding that presently a number of scientists had moved into banking and business, and “this does not augur well”.
Prof. Adjapong, therefore, called for a presidential special initiative on the development of science, technology and innovation to spearhead the development of science and technology.
He said if science and technology were developed very well in the country, it would pave way for research and the development of industries.
He underscored the need to add value to “our resources as we can't continue exporting or marketing raw materials, and the only way to do it is to undertake research and develop to add value to our products”.
The country's scientists, he said needed to be challenged and expressed concern about the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) not being well-resourced, saying that “maybe they can reconfigure that into national science laboratories to do research,” he said.
“I think most of the CSIR labs are not well resourced, therefore, we are paying people who have virtually become administrators and that is causing financial loss to the country because you are not utilising the talents of the people you have trained,” he lamented.
Prof. Adjapong said there was the need to define areas where science and technology research could be undertaken for national development.
He advocated the establishment of a national laboratory that would deal with health and biological sciences and agriculture.
He said research into agriculture was extremely important as it would allow the country to apply bio-technology techniques to improve agricultural production.
“If we can have cassava that yields in three months, the better for us,” he said.
Story by Emmanuel Bonney