Oppong Clifford Benjamin pleads with Ghana to support academic research

My research proposal for postgraduate studies is on the Competency-Based Training (CBT) of engineering education. I strongly believe the CBT module as practiced in the engineering faculties of some technical universities in Ghana and some European institutions (Netherland is the originator) when improved upon can be the most efficient method of teaching engineering in Africa. It will bring out the actual engineering capacity of engineering graduates in Africa.

I am happy to say my proposal has been accepted by three universities for different levels of postgraduate research programs; a Ph.D. in the USA, MPhil in South Africa, and another Ph.D. in New Zealand.

Oppong Clifford Benjamin

But the Covid-19 is not here to only kill bodies and excite panic in humanity, it also is tearing apart dreams and opportunities. It is supporting technology to further weaken the face-to-face human interactions and making humans believe life can happen on the internet, as a result, two of these universities are offering me a chance to carry such an extensive research work online. I have however had to decline both because I am a traditionalist as well as a perfectionist.

I have really wanted to carry out this research since I came in contact with the CBT module in 2011 during my time in Ghana at Kumasi Technical University (the then Kumasi Polytechnic). I have spent so much time planning out my research outline and I won’t allow some virus to tell me to now narrow my scope and do a miniature of the real work — online work.

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If only I could get funding opportunities, I would love to carry out this research in Ghana. But our universities and government and private institutions don’t offer these funding opportunities that much. In fact, our institutions and our mental orientation as a country don’t even appreciate research works and how their findings could actually be designed into modules and schemes that could effect much better performances of our entire system.

We have not seen much of the influence of academicians on the system in Ghana not because they are lazy or they can’t carry out proper research work, but mainly because they don’t get funding opportunities for their various research works.

Ghana, in my opinion, is running on a very faulty system that ends up negatively affecting her people’s destinies, simply put, you cannot dream in Ghana, honestly. And these malfunctions in our systems can be corrected by selecting working modules from other countries, analyzing them, and redesigning some of them to suit our needs or even inventing new schemes or modules out of extensive research works.

We are all witnesses to the advantages the nation is deriving from the Noguchi Memorial Institute in Legon at the University of Ghana amidst this ongoing pandemic. The government is now throwing so much funding into the research works at Noguchi. This gesture of the government only affirms a popular banality that Ghanaians act under ‘last-minute pressure.’ But must this cliché define us as a people?

Dear Mr. President — Nana Akufo-Addo — there is so much our Professors and academicians can do to give our systems better shapes through research works. Please earmark some funding to better the country through research work, especially in times like this, and you will thank yourself for the long term benefits.

I ask this so we don’t always end up depending on international universities and research centers when we can instead get to learn from them and develop our homegrown innovation to solve our problems.

Authored by Oppong Clifford Benjamin

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