The next government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would set up a Science and Technology Development Fund (STDF) to support research activities in universities, research institutions and for graduate research projects as a first step for industrial development of the country, the party stated in Accra on Tuesday.
The next NDC government would also use science and technology as central to progress in all fields of national endeavour, Mr John Dramani Mahama, NDC vice presidential candidate, stated during an interaction with scientists, researchers and industrialists to spell out the party's science agenda for the nation.
The platform on the theme: “Vision for Science, Technology and Innovation for Development of Ghana – the Role of CSIR,” was created by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSR) to interact with the NDC presidential candidate to explain the scientific details of the party's manifesto.
Mr Mahama said the government of Professor John Evans Atta Mills would institute an annual science congress to focus attention on science and technology; establish science and technology theme parks at Cape Coast and Akwapim Ridge.
He said the parks would be equipped with world class facilities for electronics, precision engineering, information, communication and technology and bio-technology, with links to the country's universities to develop and put into use practical solutions for specific problems.
The NDC vice presidential candidate, flanked by Alhaji Huudu Yahaya, NDC National vice chairman, Dr Christine Amoako-Nuamah, former Minister of Science and Technology and other leading members of the party, said the NDC government would also focus on holistic development of science and technology from the primary, secondary through to the tertiary level.
Periodic curriculum review and development would be undertaken to enhance the effectiveness of teaching in the sciences; the moribund Science Resource Centres in Secondary Schools would be rejuvenated by training of science teachers to staff the centres, provide funds for the running of the centres' buses and replacing and refurbishing their equipment, chemicals, computers and accessories.
“We will also restore the vacation workshops for second cycle girls aspiring to careers in science and technology and have them addressed by women who have been high achievers in these areas.”
The Ministry of Science and Technology would be created and given clear mandate to foster and co-ordinate the development diffusion of science and technology for use by appropriate agencies, the NDC vice presidential candidate stated.
Mr Mahama said the next NDC government would fully implement the traditional medicine Practice Act (Act 575, ensure integration of traditional medicine into the existing health service facilities and resource the Mampong Centre for Research into plant medicine to serve as a link between traditional and orthodox medicines.
He said the government would set aside two per cent of the GETFUND to provide need-based bursaries and scholarships for tertiary level students in pure and applied mathematics, science and technology.
“President John Evans Atta Mills will also push for rapid development of the country's ICT infrastructure, including the establishment of a reliable national backbone with capacity to carry high speed voice, video, data and internet facilities to all districts.
“President Mills would promote the use of ICT in governance, networking the Presidency, Ministries, Departments and Agencies to improve communication and to eliminate the loss of man-hours spent on tons of paperwork and transfer of documentation,” Mr Mahama stated.
Dr A. B. Salifu, CSIR Director-General, said the platform formed the basis for the institute's Golden Jubilee celebration stressing that science and technology were central to creating wealth and improving the lives of the people.