The Third Ghana-France Higher Education Conference with focus on Engineering Sciences Opened yesterday in Accra.
The three-day programme is aimed at offering participants the opportunity to show-case the excellence of both country’s educational structure as well as training opportunities available for students, employers and employees.
It was also to serve as a unique platform for participants to exchange ideas on the main challenge for training in engineering sciences from advanced technician to engineer not only between universities but also with the private sector in order to match the labour market needs and contents of training programmes for a better employment.
The Minister of Education, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Speaking at the opening ceremony urged the participants to develop a competence based curriculum that would serve a dual purpose for the country.
According to her, the curriculum must be crafted in such a way that it could build the capacity in teaching and learning on agreed study credits and assessments.
“I am hopeful this collaboration would offer opportunities for French and Ghanaian universities participating in these programme to develop competence-based curricula so as to build capacity in teaching and learning as well as quick enhancement in order to define common agreed study assessment tools,” she said.
The Minister indicated that agreements emanating from those activities would make it easier for Ghana to collaborate with all her neighbours regardless of their linguistic medium.
Prof. Opoku-Agyeman noted that the perception that everything academic is impractical remains a perception and urged for more attention to encourage efforts to translate research into tangible outcomes.
She said the country is doing all it can to make the study of science and engineering attractive to the youth, adding that “the Ministry has trained over 1000 teachers of mathematics at the basic level where a sound foundation and interest should be established”.
The President of the Vice Chancellors Association of Ghana, Prof. William Otoo Ellis, said the training of scientists and engineers should not be restricted to national systems only but also to international systems and standards.
That he explained would rope in international institutions, professionals and regulatory bodies needed for the training of the country’s graduates and other professionals.
Prof Ellis stated that about 2.5 million new scientists and engineers would be needed in sub-Saharan Africa if really the continent wants to achieve it’s stated targets and develop as a nation.
He called for more partnership with French institutions, as well as continuous training in science and technology and research.
Science and technology training institutions Prof. Ellis noted must not only produce scientists and engineers but also ensure they produce creative scientists.
The French Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Frederic Clavier expressed France’s commitment to further strengthen the programme through the development of co-operation that values the provision of professional teaching in line with areas of local employment.
He said the two-day programme would allow all parties to better understand the challenges in teaching of engineering sciences, the potential of its development and the opportunities as well as the support programmes.
Mr. Clavior said the opportunity would be given to the universities to discuss many issues especially on their sustainability.
By Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu