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General News Mon, 26 Nov 2007

Low rating of science is a grave national shortcomings- Scientist

Accra, Nov. 26, GNA - Dr. Letitia Obeng, President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on Monday described as grave national shortcoming how low the nation rated science in the assessment of things.

She said the country really has no excuse for not having a vigorous science presence in its culture mainly because various aspects and elements of the nation's culture were firmly rooted in principles of science.

In her Presidential Address to open the Academy's Founders Week Celebration in Accra, Dr. Obeng said: "...It appears in Ghana, science has such a low rating in the assessment of things that there is only a lukewarm interest in, and at best, adequate public involvement in issues related to science.

"It seems that science and technology are definitely not seen as priorities in Ghana," she said and explained that the involvement with science in the educational system, science and technology research institutions and a few standard regulatory bodies was far from showing national consciousness of the subject.

Dr. Obeng, a renowned scientist said it was of crucial importance that the apparent rating of science in the affairs of the nation, be elevated so that the essence of the discipline might find a firm acceptable and recognition at the highest levels of governance. "That way, the awareness and importance attached to science at that level may trickle down to the general public and community," she said. She said, "it was unfortunate that even though science forms part of our daily lives, the subject has been made out to be such a difficult and hyper-technical discipline that even its mention raised immediate visions and "bombs" among non- scientists.

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Dr. Obeng said to give science an integral part of national planning; there was the need to establish a specific body which to solely build linkages between research institutions and those who would use the results of their research for national development. This, according to her, would relieve the scientists of marketing their products to contribute to their upkeep and help them concentrate fully on innovative technologies.

"In this age with complex daily life activities, all citizens of any country which is desirous of improvement through national development must become science literate," Dr Obeng noted. For the non-scientists and non-literate public, she said there was the need to demystify science and laid it bare for them to know that the subject was not something that was acquired in the classroom alone but that it lived within the human spirit.

Dr Obeng painted a beautiful picture of what Ghana could have been if Ghanaians achieved a suitable level of awareness of the importance of science and technology and said among other things: "I imagine a Ghana where trees stand tall and handsome in the countryside without fear of being butchered indiscriminately and dragged down to Takoradi for export."

In a poetic fashion she concluded: "I imagine a Ghana where streams and rivers provide homes for healthy fish and birds flying from tree to tree; and ants busily hunt for food and butterflies flit to lovely flowers which perfumes our days and nights." Dr Obeng said that was a dream of possibility and Ghana must make the decision and choice now. 26 Nov. 07

Source: GNA
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