African Countries Must Invest More in Research & Development – Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh

The Minister for Education, Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has charged African countries to invest more in research and development, bemoaning the fact that whilst only 0.4% of GDP is spent on research and development in sub-Saharan Africa, the global average is 1.7%.

The Minister made these remarks when addressing the 9th Innovation Africa Ministerial Summit currently under way in Accra. He declared, “now is the time for African countries to accelerate their socio-economic transformation by developing skilled professionals in applied sciences, engineering and technology. This will enable millions of youth to integrate faster into an increasingly innovative and technological workforce and address the continent’s challenges through scientific and technical research and innovation.”

Dr. Prempeh, who is also the Member of Parliament for Manhyia South, further set out the government’s initiatives in addressing the challenges the government inherited in the education sector when it took over the reins of the country in January 2017.

These initiatives include curriculum reform, improving access to SHS through the Free SHS programme, supply of teaching and learning material, teacher education and professionalization initiatives and school inspection and accountability through the National Inspectorate Board, among others.

He explained that the Government of Ghana, under its Ghana Accountability and Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP), seeks to improve the quality of low performing basic education schools and strengthen education sector equity and accountability in Ghana. The project is targeting 10,000 most disadvantaged schools based on examination performance. It will also support the training of teachers, manage class sizes and improve systems for accountability, national assessments and teacher management.

Dr. Prempeh also revealed that The African Union through the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and African Development Bank is operationalizing the African Education Fund to facilitate the skills needed for Africa’s industrialization and that Ghana has pledged UD$2 million to the Fund.

The summit, which has attracted over 250 ministers, officials and private sector officials from Africa and beyond, is being organized by AfricaBrains and seeks to explore the nexus between education and technology in a bid to improve learning outcomes through innovative means. It will be addressed tomorrow by President Akufo-Addo and will run until Thursday.

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