The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS), the nation’s premier learned society, today publicly launched a twenty-four-month Higher Education project on the theme, “Motivating Higher Education Reforms in Ghana – Towards Equity and Sustainability”. The US$116,000 project is sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Prof. Clifford Nii Boi Tagoe, Chair of the Project Steering Committee said in his welcoming remarks that over time, increasing low levels of public investment in, and support to, knowledge-producing institutions such as the Academy, has hampered their abilities effectiveness in commissioning and disseminating research findings to influence policy and shape public education. He said that notwithstanding, the Academy had not rested on its oars and continues to leverage its convening power to assemble learned teams and panels on critical issues in the arts and sciences at regularly organized public lectures, symposia, and forums.
He said he was delighted that nearly 15 years after the Academy commissioned and published “Generating Electricity from Sunlight – Global Trends and Developments in Ghana”, authored by Prof. Fred Ohene Akuffo, at the onset of what has now been infamously named ‘dumsor’, the Academy is in a position once again, with the availability of much-needed funds, to commission another important piece of research work with huge national ramifications, designed to gather evidence, share information and provide a platform for building consensus and contributing to policy formulation on higher education in Ghana.
He expressed the hope that the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, under which the Academy is placed for subvention, would buy into the Academy’s vision of helping to find solutions to national problems and provide the necessary support and encouragement for the fulfilment of the Academy’s mission.
Emerita Prof. Takyiwaa Manuh, Chair of the Project Management Committee said the idea behind the project is to offer a credible platform for reflection and a search for workable and sustainable solutions to some of the endemic challenges of the Higher Education (HE) sector. She said the need for such an intervention had been occasioned by the absence of a forum for independent persons and groups to reflect on the challenges of the HE sector on a regular and sustained basis, although over the years, several studies have been undertaken to shed light on the problems and outcomes of policies and reforms within the higher education sector.
She added that the dearth of arrangements for providing a sounding board for different stakeholders, undertaking regular reviews of current policies, and assessing independent research evidence to inform new policy considerations was hurting the sector and needed to be readily addressed.
She said the grant provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York was for the sole purpose of organizing a number of research and policy dialogues on higher education reforms in Ghana from October 2022 to January 2025 with a view to:
- critically examining past, present and future reforms in the higher education sector;
- providing a platform for open and objective discussion of higher education policy; and
- building consensus around policy recommendations that promote equity and sustainability in the higher education sector.
She outlined activities to be undertaken under the project to include commissioning of studies and background papers on selected Higher Education policy changes; quarterly policy convenings for selected stakeholders; and ultimately the publishing and sharing of the commissioned studies and the conference outcomes through the issuance of seven (7) policy briefs and proceedings.
She said the Academy had duly put out a call for expression of interest requesting the services of higher education experts and researchers to develop background papers on seven thematic areas to inform a comprehensive mapping of the state of HE and HE policy changes and interventions since 1992.
The President of the Academy, Emeritus Prof. Samuel Sefa-Dedeh congratulated the Steering, Project Management and Staff teams for the work done so far and encouraged them to ensure that the Academy acquits itself creditably with a sterling execution and delivery of the project under the terms of agreement with Carnegie.
Present at the event were Dr. Yayra Dzakadzie, Director of Tertiary Education, Ministry of Education; Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr, past President of the Academy, former Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities Member of the Steering Committee; Emeritus Prof. Ivan Addae-Mensah; former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana and former Vice President of the Sciences Section of the Academy; Prof. John Gyapong, Member of the Project Management Committee and immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Allied and Health Science, Ho; Prof. James Hawkins Ephraim, Member of the Steering Committee and former Rector of the Nduom School of Business and Technology, Elmina; Prof. RoseEmma Mamaa Entsua-Mensah, Member of the Steering Committee and former Deputy Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research; Prof. Dorcas Osei-Safo, Fellow of the Academy; Dr. Samuel Tengey and Ms. Emelia Awuviri, Bank of Ghana; and the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Mr. Kofi Asare..
Also present at the event were representatives from University Teacher Unions, Education-workers Unions, Student Leadership groups, industry and the print and electronic media.