UCC urged to create educational research niche to inform policies

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The University of Cape Coast (UCC) has been challenged to create a research niche in education to help address the educational challenges of the country.

Professor John Owusu Gyapong, Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), who gave the admonition noted with worry that UCC which was supposed to be a premier tertiary institution for education had been silent on critical matters in the educational sector of recent years.

He said as a premier institution, UCC needed to be visible in making cogent argument based on good policy analysis for it to become a force to reckon with when it came to the formulation and implementation of educational policies in the country.

Prof Gyapong was giving the keynote address on the topic “Making research a relevant estate of the academic realm” at the third Research Awards and Grants (RAG) ceremony at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on Thursday.

“There has been this debate on whether SHS should be three or four years. I ask myself what UCC has done about this,” he queried.

Prof Gyapong said, “I haven’t heard from UCC which is our premier university as far as education is concern. So now everybody is saying what they want to say. What is UCC doing, since this debate began, I have heard about people pontificating how California, Australia and Kenya are doing it. Is somebody here going to throw some light on it for us?”

He said the inability of UCC as an educational institution to lead the discussion on other critical educational matters of the country such as the “double track system” and whether SHS should be three or four years had created a big vacuum.

He bemoaned that though there was a direct correlation between research and development, expenditure on Research and Development was very low in the country and as a result it was not able to generate enough knowledge and information to become a force on the global scene.

Prof Gyapong challenged the University to make itself a force to reckon with in educational policy and see whether Government could just ignore UCC and be okay and the need for the institution to reflect on carving a niche units area of calling.

Prof Gyapong also expressed surprise that about 21 percent of UCC’s publications were in the area of medicine even though the Medical School was relatively a young faculty in the University.

He encouraged UCC to give research relevant attention because universities had critical roles to play in providing the necessary knowledge, innovations and solutions for industry and policy-makers to solve societal challenges.

He further challenged UCC to constantly look out for funding opportunities and strike strategic partnership with industry to fund its research, since funding was key for research.

Professor George Oduro, Pro Vice Chancellor of UCC, noted that in recent times, universities were placing more emphasis on research and for that matter universities that concentrated on teaching without research, could not make any significant impact.

That, he explained, was the motivation for the establishment of the Directorate of Research, Innovation and Consultancy (DRIC) and pledged Management’s commitment to do more to support research.