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Science and Tech holds key to sustainable devt

By GNA
Accra, Jan. 5, GNA - Professor Kwesi Andam, Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), on Thursday said the Government needed to invest at least one per cent of its Gross Domestic Product, about 101 million dollars into the development of science and technology to enhance sustainable development. He said the country currently invested 0.4 per cent of her GDP into science and technology and 0.1 per cent into research programmes and that was woefully inadequate and had been the recipe for continued poverty in Ghana.
Speaking at the ongoing New Year School at the University of Ghana, Legon, Prof Andam said if the figure were to be compared to the lowest investment of two per cent by the developed countries, then, Ghana was not doing enough.
Prof Andam said though the 2002 National Science and Technology Document stated that the Government would accelerate the allocation of a minimum of two per cent of the GDP to support the science and technology sector this had not been fulfilled.
Presenting a paper on: "Science and Technology for National Development", Prof Andam said there was the need to increase access to science and technology programmes at the tertiary stages. Commenting on the huge school drop out rate, Professor Andam said out of about 2.5 million children that enrolled at the primary school level, only 865,208 were able to continue to the Junior Secondary School level, which gave a drop out rate of 66 per cent.
He said the drop outs could not create wealth on their own since giving them training became difficult and that they ended up as dog chain sellers and truck pushers, a lot of whom were seen on the streets. Prof Andam said out of the total number of 2.5 million, 5,000 ended up at the Senior Secondary School level with only four per cent continuing to the universities and other tertiary institutions. He said to improve on the living standards of the people there was the need to arrest the decline at the primary to SSS level adding "educating all Ghanaian children to the SSS level would bring an end to our suffering".
Prof Andam stressed the need to improve the science and technology facilities including laboratories and equipment in the universities and polytechnics to train more people in science and technology, as it was the major tool for development.
"For about 40 years, no accommodation facilities had been built to add to the 2,000 rooms built by Kwame Nkrumah. This made the University to admit only 8,000 out of the 16,000 well qualified candidates." He said currently, brain drain had become a major problem for African countries with Ethiopia, Nigeria and Ghana in that order suffering the most from it.
He said with the four billion dollars spent on employing expatriates for technical assistance by Africa, only one billion dollars could be used to contain the brain drain but this was not done. Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Chief Executive Officer of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, who chaired the function, called for a Science and Technology Policy to guide professionals to perform better. He said Ghana was the only country without a Science and Technology Policy hence a lot of things went on unchecked and that could discourage the qualified graduate engineers, who were working hard to run the economy.


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