Wednesday, June 24, 2020

NPP Science, Technology, Innovation and Tertiary Education Policy – 2016-2020: Memo by Dr. Patrick Kobina Arthur

NPP Science, Technology, Innovation and Tertiary Education Policy – 

2016-2020: Memo by Dr. Patrick Kobina Arthur

 



The vision of the NPP for the economic transformation of Ghana is hinged on a durable and strategic STI policy that is dynamic, transformational and comprehensive. Every cedi invested in research and development will give back 50 cedi to the economy$$.

 

The following key policy hallmarks will be instituted to create the STI environment that drives the economic development of Ghana in a competitive and sustainable way.

1)   Science, technology, innovation council – STIC$

Create an apex STI advisory body to provide researched policy framework and policy recommendations to Government in collaboration with the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

 

Establish the new national science fund to take 2 % of the country’s GDP for fund research and development activities in Ghana with a fund administration with oversight from the STIC.

 

2)   Centres of Excellence in Research and Development

Establish a flagship system of Ghana centres of excellence (GCEs) across the country that networks all High Education Institutes (HEIs). Including all other research organizations such as the big hospitals, national reference laboratories, GNPC and Ghana Gas, utility corporations (VRA, ECG, GRIDCo, Ghana Water) CSIR institutes and CRIG.

 

The GCEs will cover themes such as:

01-Biomedical research

02-Biomedical engineering

03-Pharmaceutical technology and Bioequivalence Research

04-Crop improvements and seed technology

05-Environment and sanitation engineering

06-Energy engineering

07-Manufacturing equipment engineering

08-Agricultural technology,

09-Food process engineering,

10-Marine engineering,

11-Textile and clothing technology,

12-Transport engineering,

13-Building technology,

14-Climate and Ecosystem research,

15-Electronics and Electronic Assembly,

16-Advanced ICT engineering

 

Mandate all GCEs to create multi-disciplinary graduate schools to drive youth training and to conduct their core activities while maintaining permanent staff strength that is lean and effective. Large bioequivalence research centres (LBRC) should be established in all institution in Ghana that provides medical training; these are UG, KNUST, UCC, UDS and UHAS. The grand goal is to reduce imports of expensive pharmaceutical by 50% in a decade of the commencement of the projects. Additionally, the LBRC must develop key and viable interventions for all unmet health needs in the country and export the some to the Africa region and the developing world.

 

 

3)   Technology Parks (Industrial development centres)

Development of technology transfer centres and business incubation hubs close to GCEs to carryout private sector led commercialization activities. Establish specific venture capital schemes to invest in the commercialization activities using the funds tier-2 capital of the pension system.

 

4)   Grand Challenge Scheme

Establish the Grand Challenges Corporation as a subsidiary of the national science fund. The Grand Challenges is currently gaining currency across the world after the Gates Foundation initiated it in 2003. This scheme is to employ the grand challenges model to drive innovation by making various tiers of competitive grants available to all innovators from all sectors of society. The model encourages integrated innovation by linking technology to social needs and social capital and drive them towards enterprise creation and high impact interventions.

 

5)   Postdoctoral programme

This programme is to cover all the thematic areas of the GCEs system nation-wide. A competitive and very generous scheme to motivate and build the capacity of young innovators for accelerated national development.

 

The programme will provide support over a period of 6 years to ensure the steady and productive capacity of building the country’s most talented innovators. To aim to attract and retain Ghanaians who have trained outside the country and are looking for opportunities to return.

 

The postdoctoral fellows are to be empowered to be the lifeblood of the GCEs and constitute main responsible personnel for the graduate training programmes. Fellows will be actively promoted into the technology parks with their research and development projects and provided with venture funding support.

 

6)   Graduate training programme

This will be the main engine for the training of the new class of highly qualified scientists and engineers for the technological advancement of Ghana. This will be very well funded training programme within the GCEs and with many opportunities provided to ensure continuous global exchange.

 

7)   Design, entertainment, science, technology and innovation (DESTI) Programme

The culture of innovation must be a constant part of the education system especially at the senior high and the undergraduate levels. This programme will provide funding and set agenda for private groups of youth and established youth organizations to organize fairs and competitions that allow student to showcase their original inventions. Strong mentoring from the GCEs will be organized for these DESTI groups to ensure that pathways to scale are provided.

 

8)   Technical and Vocational training

Every innovation ecosystem needs a strong cadre of well-trained technicians to ensure the implementation of the projects. The GCEs system will create a training programme for all technicians. The training will include a significant part of immersive session in the various centres for hands-on experience.

 

9)   Restructuring of Tertiary Education and the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE)

There is an urgent need to harmonize the activities in the tertiary education space. The elimination of parallel training systems such as the distinct structures for Polytechnics, Nursing schools, Agric school and Teacher training colleges should be carried to harmonize the training the standard of training across different fields. To ensure that all diploma and degree awarding institutions and programmes are controlled by the new NCTE to ensure that the same culture of training and student development benchmarks are applied across board. To this end Polytechnics must be upgraded to a fully structured Technical Universities.  Nursing schools, Agric school and Teacher training colleges must be assigned to existing Universities as satellite campuses to benefit the same standard of lecturer recruitment and training. This is expected to create the culture of lifelong learning in Ghana by allowing a harmonious switching of fields of study. The concept of Open Universities must be developed under the existing distance and continuous education programmes that are running in some Universities. Institutes of distance and continuous education must be developed in all public universities, with the mandate to create open courses. It is expected students who want to switch fields at any time in their career will take several prescribed open courses that qualifies them to undertake their new programme of study.  The new NCTE is therefore expected to go beyond the current advisory functions to the Ministry of Education to operate like the GES for the tertiary sector. The new NCTE must also absorb the functions of the National Accreditation Board to create the culture of continuous quality assurance and audit of academic programmes.

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