Book and Research Allowance now salary enhancers - Professor Gyapong
The Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Professor John Owusu Gyapong says the Book and Research Allowance given to lecturers of public universities has now become a supplement to their salaries rather than for research. He has thus called on government to ensure that the proposed Research Fund becomes operational as soon as possible.
“We shouldn’t deceive ourselves that the Book and Research Allowances is being used for research. UTAG can shoot me. Its a lie. We all know many our waiting for the book and research allowance to buy roofing sheets, cement and to pay school fees,” he said.
He said it was obvious the meagre research allowances of about 7,000 cedis could not be used for any meaningful research.
Prof Gyapong was giving a keynote address at this year’s Research Awards and Grants ceremony of the University of Cape Coast on Thursday.
The awards ceremony which is organized by the Directorate of Research, Innovation and Consultancy (DRIC) of UCC this year gave out 24 research support grants ranging from 3000 cedis to 90,000 cedis.
The directorate also awarded four researcher including Dr Adeladza Kofi Amegah, Dr Andreas Adutwum Kudom, Dr Florian Carl and Dr Kwame Agyei Frimpong with awards. The occasion was also used the launch the university’s Research Agenda 2018-2022 themed, “Education and Environment for Sustainable Development.
Prof Gyapong said if the research fund is made operational many could access it for effective research. Be opportunity for some of us can access it to fund for meaningful research.
He said we should not deceive ourselves that the research and book allowance was for research. I know people are waiting for the Book and Research Allowance to buy roofing sheets.
He said universities are set up to teach, research and offer services but they have basically become places of teaching. “The research bit is lagging behind,” he stated.
In November last year, the Minister of Education, Mr Mathew Opoku Prempeh said cabinet had already given approval for the establishment of a $50million research fund adding that a draft bill would be presented to Parliament shortly to give it the necessary legal backing.
Throwing more light later in an interview after the ceremony, Prof Gyapong said the nation needed a clear research policy direction and an operational fund to provide adequate funding for research.
He stated that the nation need new knowledge and innovation which could only be achieved through effective research.
On education in general, Prof Gaypong said it was incumbent on the universities especially the University of Cape Coast with personnel with expertise on educational policy to provide their views help direct education in the country.
He said the arguments on the new educational policies had mostly been from politicians saying it’s been only “heat” adding that “we need some light on the issue.”
Prof Gyapong called on lecturers to push their frontiers, move from their comfort zones, challenge the status quo and move into research areas that solve societal problems.
The Director of DRIC, Prof Samuel Annim said the research agenda would guide researchers in the university to research along the SDGs.
He said the university targets to be renowned for research in education and environment and said he was optimistic that DRIC would continue to promote the university’s research agenda.
The Pro-Vice Chancellor of UCC, Prof George Oduro said UCC had taken the challenge in good stride and would work to further establish itself as authority in research.