Reverend Professor E. Kingsley Larbi, the Chancellor of the Regent University College of Science and Technology, Ghana, has urged tertiary educational institutions to come out with innovative ideas that would solve critical societal challenges.
He said universities in Ghana and other African countries must be centres of excellence to research into socio-economic challenges and provide solutions.
“When politicians are groping in darkness looking for answers, we must be there to provide answers,” he stated.
He said tertiary institutions must be creators of ideas that would address developmental challenges, adding that until African universities leverage on that process, it would be difficult to solve the challenges confronting the continent.
Prof. Larbi made these remarks at the launch of the Africa Intellectual Database for Development and Excellence (AIDDE) project in Accra on Friday.
The project is a partnership between the Regent University Ghana and the Final Vision Technology of Canada, to expose students, lecturers and researchers to the available quality textbooks and journals which could be accessed electronically.
It would also help prepare students in Africa to enhance their intelligence, creativity and transform their innovative ideas through research into technological development that would solve economic problems on the continent.
Interested universities are required to pay a $ 500 dollars fees to join the platform which will enable their students and lecturers would have access to over 230,000 textbooks and journals published by African, European and American writers for their thesis and other research work.
Prof. Larbi said it was the desire of the University to become a leading educational institution that would bring answers to societal challenges through science and technology.
However, he said, one of the greatest challenges confronting the private universities was that the public universities were running programmes hitherto they wouldn’t like to undertake and, therefore, called for collaboration among private universities.
“The public universities are doing everything possible so that we don’t survive, now they are running programmes that in the years back they wouldn’t like to run including top-up programmes and organising extra classes for students that did not qualify to the universities for admissions,” he said.
He observed that these were the areas the private universities were profiting from, therefore, it was clear indication that the public universities want to swallow up the private ones hence the need for collaboration.
For his part, Prof Nicolas N. N. Nsowah-Nuamah, the President of the University, criticised the practice where students only learn from their lecture notes and therefore entreated them to undertake extensive research from other reference materials.
He charged students to be ambitious of building a holistic being instead of just learning to pass their examinations, saying: “Read from other textbooks written by other lecturers and writers so that you will be exposed to problem solving situations and not stereotyped to the knowledge from your lecturers’’.
Mr Anthony Kwame Ardiabah, an engineer and a lecturer at the Regent University Ghana, said it was the vision of the academic entity to build a solar plant factory that would help resolve the power crisis and, therefore, urged the government to partner it in realising the dream.
Mr Ardiabah, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Final Vision Technology in Canada, said the objective of the electronic platform was to bridge the gap between academic textbooks that were used in universities in advanced countries and that of African universities.
He said lecturers could upload their lecture notes onto the platform to aid students in their research work and other academic purposes.