Accra, Jan 3, GNA - Ms Elizabeth A. Ohene, Minister of State in charge of Tertiary and Special Education, on Tuesday said the brain drain phenomenon undermines the nation's efforts at human resource development and called for a dispassionate discussion on how to maintain this resource to propel Ghana into a middle-income nation.
Speaking at the opening of the 57th Annual New Year School, at the University of Ghana, Legon, she noted that though nature might have endowed the country with so many natural resources they could not be develop if the human resource remained undeveloped.
This year's school is on the theme: "Developing the Human Resource for Accelerated National Development."
Ms Ohene said a British newspaper published an alarming bit of statistics, which suggested that almost 50 per cent of all the university graduates produced by Ghana lived outside the country. "The monies they send are certainly most welcome, but we require a critical mass of educated human resource to make the nation what we all wish it to become", she said.
Ms Ohene said the Government's White Paper on the Education Reforms was aimed at strengthening the human resource base of the nation in an orderly and systematic manner and to make it competitive in the globalised world of today.
She said though some described the reforms as ambitious, that did not mean it was unrealistic because they were based on a proper assessment of the needs of the country.
Ms Ohene said the Government had a firm belief that the collective will of the people would make it work and called for the support from all citizens and friends of Ghana to make it a success.
She said the for the past 57 years, the New Year School, which had provided a forum for a cross-section of the Ghanaian populace to discuss matters of national importance dispassionately and devoid of politics or acrimony remained an important institution.
She said: " The New Year School has become famous for the depth of knowledge that is fed into the recommendations that emerge from the discussions'' adding that the organisers must continually scrutinise and evaluate the operation to suit the changing needs of the nation.
Professor Clifford Tagoe, Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, said the University and all other public universities had produced human resource of excellent quality that had made enormous contributions to all sectors of the economy.
He said the student intake of the university had grown from 10,000 to 26,000 in the last few years, which had had some adverse impact on the facilities.
Professor Tagoe said, recently the public universities were criticised that their products had fallen short of expectation because people thought that university graduates should be able to solve all problems at the workplace just because they held degrees.
He said every new employee required some in-service training and called on employers to provide opportunities for continued education and training for their staff.
Mr Reuben A. Aggor, Acting Director of the Institute of Adult Education of the University of Ghana, organisers of the New Year School, said funding had been a major problem for the Institute over the years especially when the support from the German Adult Education Association came to an end.
He said the lack of funds had compelled the Institute to charge fees for programmes it ran free-of-charge in the past and to increase the fees for others resulting in reduced participation from its clientele.
Mr Aggor said the Institute had extensive infrastructure in all the regions many of which were old and needed rehabilitation especially the Sekondi-Takoradi Workers' College and a Resident Tutor's bungalow at Tamale.
He said the Institute would soon complete work on developing a syllabus for a B.A programme in Adult Education as well as Diploma in Accounting and Public Administration to enable it to nurture future leaders in those fields.
Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu of the Faculty of Law, who chaired the opening, called on Ghanaians to endeavour to make the best out of whatever profession they had chosen.
"It is only when we brighten our corner and do the right things that we can nurture others to help to propel the nation forward", she said.