THE Brong Ahafo Regional Chairman of the Ghana Association of Science Teachers (GAST), Mr Nestor Mensah, has expressed regret at the way successive governments after the late Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah have not paid much attention to the development of science and technology in the country.
The situation, he said, had made Ghana a less developed country and producer of raw materials whose prices on the international market were often not favourable to the nation.
He said for Ghana to attain its developmental goals and a middle-income status, every effort must be made by the government to give maximum attention to the teaching of science and technology at all levels of education.
Mr Mensah made the observation at a workshop for science teachers in the Brong Ahafo Region in Sunyani.
It was on the theme: “Contextualization of the teaching and learning of science”.
It was organised by the Centre for School and Community, Science and Technology Studies (SACOST) of the University of Education, Winneba.
SACOST was established in June 2000 by the African Forum for Children's Literacy in Science and Technology (AFCLIST) and it seeks to promote awareness of endogenous knowledge and its integration into the global knowledge of science and technology.
A series of such workshops have already been held for science teachers in the Central, Greater Accra, Ashanti, Volta, Eastern and Western regions.
Mr Mensah said the contribution of science and technology to human development was phenomenal, saying it was noteworthy that any education without the twin disciplines left the educated at the periphery of development.
“The Asian Tigers which we easily refer to when discussing our development issues have become a very formidable force in world politics because of their commitment to improve their living conditions through advancement in science and technology,” he stressed.
He called on the participants to begin to make the teaching of the sciences more practical, attractive and lively for the development of the region in particular and the country in general.
The Co-ordinator for SACOST, Prof Kolawale Raheem, said Ghana, like most African countries, was facing a real crisis in the development and utilisation of science and technology in its attempt to achieve economic emancipation.
“This crisis has its roots in our colonial history. It is on record that colonial education isolated learners from their communities and infused in them colonial values, customs, attitudes and knowledge systems that ignored the knowledge and value systems of the people,” he said.
Prof Raheem added that the educational systems of most African countries, including Ghana, had largely excluded or ignored African systems of knowledge, namely, the values, customs, production methods and the general cultural environment of the African child.
That state of affairs, Prof Raheem said, had contributed to the under-utilisation of the processes and products of the scientific enterprise, a situation where science, mathematics and technology did not seem to have any influence on the lives of majority of the people who studied them.
He stated that the situation had also led to low enrolment in elective science at the senior high school (SHS) level, with only 9.3 per cent and 0.1 per cent participation rate in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Prof Raheem said it was to bridge the yawning gap between schooling and the cultural context of the student that AFCLIST decided to set up SACOST.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, stressed the importance of science and technology in the transformation of economies.
He gave the assurance that the government would provide funding for the promotion of science and technology which would help propel the nation into a middle-income status.