General News Fri, 30 Jun 2006

Why sandwich science between education and sports?

Accra, June 30, GNA - The scientific community on Friday expressed worry over the way science has been 'sandwiched' between education and sports saying the importance that ought to be attached to the subject seemed to be dwindling.

Professor Emmanuel Owusu-Bennoah, Director General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR,) told the Ghana News Agency during the African Scientific Renaissance Day celebration that scientists were 93not too happy with Government's decision to put education, science and sports under one Ministry.

He said in as much as people were worried and did not know Government's clear intentions, it was important to note that at a time when new strategies were required to catch up with emerging science and technological advancements, it was ideal that a separate Ministry was created for the discipline.

Prof. Owusu-Bennoah said there was the need to see to the implementation of science and technology policies through the forging of partnership.

=93The more we raise our voices and get heard, the more we articulate our thoughts on paper for the policy makers, the more likely we are to cause change....=94

Speaking to commemorate the Day, Prof. Owusu-Bennoah said Ghana needed to put science and technology, which was transforming the world, at the heart of its development planning.


Prof. Owusu-Bennoah said ICT, biotechnology, nanotechnology and what was sometimes called the frontier technologies were posing peculiar challenges, which Africa and Ghana should be taking more seriously than they were doing now.

He said today, the global market on the first generation therapeutics based on DNA technology was reported to be worth over 32 billion dollars by 2003, but noted that market trends indicated that the figure would reach 60 billion dollars by 2010 thus overtaking conventional therapeutics as the leading source of clinical pharmaceuticals.

=93Taking into account other non-therapeutic bio-technology R&D products, this market figure could jump to a colossal sum of 1.5 trillion dollars according to market researchers,=94 Prof. Owusu-Bennoah said.

He said biotechnology in the health sector alone would provide enough wealth for Ghana to leapfrog to the middle-income status but that would not happen without critical investment by stakeholders with the Government providing the critical leadership.

Prof. Aboagye Menyeh, PROVOST of the College of Science, KNUST, said Africa's future laid in the collective ability to create a new science culture that would be based on scientific thought and practice. He said it was alarming that whereas the world was becoming more and more entrenched in science, Africa and for that matter Ghana was becoming more and more estranged from science.

=93We really have to come to a point where we need clear strategies to create a deep hunger for science in our society.


=93Just as in the advanced and advancing world, the new generation goes into science as a matter of choice. Our new generation must also get into science with the passion of the Newtons, the Einsteins and the Alloteys,=94 he said.

Dr George Owusu Essegbey, National Coordinator of the African Scientific Renaissance Day, said: 93We are operating in an environment in which influencing policy decisions is extremely difficult. =93The policy maker is open to a number of stimuli especially outside the national context and how to gain the ears of the policy maker is a challenge that we must overcome especially in the interest of science and technology.=94

The Day celebrated every June 30 is aimed at building a continuous interactive process of knowledge diffusion by fostering linkages among researchers and the private sector, policy makers and other end-users. In addition, it is to generate a critical mass of knowledge for strengthening policymaking, identifying and assessing the impact of past and present policy on technological change and the consequences for development.

It is being observed under the auspices of the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS), Ghana Chapter, whose mission is to improve the quality of technology policy making.

Source: GNA