....Prof Andam Takes Swipe At Apostle Sarfo The Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prof Kwesi Andam, has taken a swipe at the technological inventions of the leader of the Kristo Asafo Mission, Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo, describing them as “nonsensical”. He said the nation's priority should be to use science and technology to advance development and not the manufacturing of helicopters and machines to produce cement blocks. Prof Andam said this in apparent reference to the latest technological claims by Apostle Safo that he has manufactured helicopter, television and roofing tiles mahine among others. According to Prof Andam, even freshmen of the KNUST could manufacture helicopters within some few months but said that was not the priority of the university. “The university should be allowed to do what it is supposed to do and not the kind of nonsensical things going on”, he said. Prof Andam was responding to a comment by a participant after delivering a lecture on the topic; “Science and Technology for National Development”, at the 57th Annual New Year School at the University of Ghana, Legon, yesterday.
A participant suggested that the authorities at the KNUST should liaise with Apostle Dr Safo to tap into his expertise and, if possible, invite him to give lectures at the university. Prof Andam reacted angrily to that suggestion and appeared emotional at certain stages as he used the words “nonsense” and “nonsensical” in a stern voice in reference to Apostle Dr Safo's claims.
There were mixed reactions to the ViceChancellor's response. While some people applauded him, others expressed disapproval, especially at his use of the words “nonsense” and “nonsensical”.
Apostle Safo has gained popularity for his technological inventions. In recognition of that the University of Ghana awarded him an honorary doctorate degree, while the University of Education, Winneba, has offered to document all his inventions.
Recently, there has been some media exchanges between Apostle Dr Safo and the authorities of KNUST. The Apostle was reported to have criticised some graduates of the university who worked with him for not being able to cope with the practical aspect of his technologal works but the university authorities reacted to the Apostle's criticism, describing it as false.
Prof Andam said it was important for the nation to understand that KNUST was established to train a core of highly skilled technical professionals who would work in key sectors to advance the development of the nation.
He said about 95 per cent of engineers at the Volta River Authority (VRA), as well as majority of the engineers at the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO), were all products of KNUST and wondered what would happen to the nation if the Akosombo Dam, for instance, was shut for a few days.
Prof Andam said there was no need to engage in a debate over the inventions of Apostle Dr Safo and the capabilities of graduates from the university, adding that the priority of the university was not re-engineering but engineering.
Moving away from Apostle Safo's inventions, the KNUST ViceChancellor announced that the university would introduce distance education programmes in Mathematics, Building Technology and Computer Engineering, next academic year.
He noted that distance education in science and technology programmes was very expensive and so there was the need to establish laboratories and other facilities for such purposes.
Delivering the main lecture, Prof Andam underlined the need for the nation to invest more in science and technology education, which, he said, was the key to development.
He said there was also the need to increase access to education, especially at the higher level, since there was a corrrlation between education and wealth creation.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, who chaired the function, said it was unfortunate that African countries spent about $40 billion annually to pay about 100,000 expatriates, although there were many Africans with the same qualification who worked abroad.
“Many years ago, the Chinese built the Great Wall of China without any help from the World Bank. But we can't build a drainage without World Bank support”, he remarked.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng said development projects were not the construction of roads but projects that would ensure less dependence on foreign capital and influence.
He said he was startled by statistics on the dropout rate, particularly at the basic education level, pointing out that, “We are at the point of doom. We are committing suicide”.