20.05.2005 Regional News

GAST launches Golden Jubilee

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Accra, May 20, GNA - The nation's march towards middle-income status would depend on the development and delivery of relevant science and technology education that can permeate the life of every Ghanaian, Professor Jophus Anamua-Mensah, Vice Chancellor, University of Education, said on Friday.

" A relevant science and technology education at the basic school level will spark and nurture the interest of children in science and technology and ensure scientific literacy for all", he said at the launch of the golden jubilee celebration of the Ghana Association of Science Teacher (GAST) in Accra.

He noted that countries with well-developed science and technology education would have a greater prospect of achieving economic progress than those with poorly developed science education. He said the government statistics for year 2003, indicated that 15 percent of Ghanaians aged 15 years and above were scientifically literate. "Science and technology thus seem not to have any influence on the lives of majority of people." The solution, he said was in the development and implementation of relevant science and technology education at all levels of education, especially pre-university level.

The Curricula should cultivate the spirit of innovation and change that would enable people create new things and find better ways of doing things he said, and added that it was unfortunate the current practice of science in schools did not provide the enabling environment for human and social capital required for nation building.

The teaching of science and technology should have relevance, but how to bring about relevance and who should lead that change were questions that need to be resolved, Prof Anamua-Mensah said.

He said there was the need to go back to the Nkrumah era when Science teachers were given far higher scholarships and salaries that were different from those teaching non-science subjects. The Vice Chancellor mentioned inadequate funding of science at all levels, poor laboratory and workshop facilities and lack of teaching/learning resources on indigenous, informal and formal activities as some of the constraints to implementations of science. GAST, he said, had a role to play in making Science and Technology relevant to students and the public.

He suggested, among other things the promotion of problem solving project work, which develops inquiry into and put innovative skills in students and the re-establishment of the annual science and technology fairs at the regional and national levels.

Mr. Christian Anthony-Krueger, President, GAST, called on government "to seek ye first the kingdom of science and all development would come."

It was the onerous task and responsibility of the Association to create and facilitate science and technology culture in the country through the school system, he said, adding that was now not realistic due to limited resources they work with.

He said in spite of the situation in which the association finds itself, it could boast of a record of achievements in science education and the enhancement of professional competence of science teachers. GAST, he noted had made a lot of input in the science syllabus of the Ministry of Education, science syllabuses for WAEC and numerous science publications and journals. He said the major challenge facing the association was lack of a permanent secretariat and staff as well as the low morale of science educators.

The president said for Ghana to develop, science educators who were the catalytic agents should be given the enabling environment to perform. The association also launched its strategic plan for the future and out-doored its cloth as well. 20 May, 05

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