Ghana Technology University College (GTUC) has urged state actors and corporate bodies to strive for stronger connections between entrepreneurship, engineering and Information Technology (IT) to spur national growth and prosperity.
“For a developing country like Ghana, engineering, entrepreneurship and Information Technology are intrinsically connected to our development,” GTUC President, Dr Osei Kofi Darkwa stated at the college’s 10th anniversary panel discussion in Accra.
He was speaking on the topic: “Connecting the dots in entrepreneurship, information technology and engineering; a retrospective and prospective review.”
He told a large crow of students, local and international audience that the three disciplines cannot be extricated as they are strongly linked to the extent that countries like Ghana cannot gloss over their joint benefits to boost economic prosperity and cut down poverty levels.
Many developed and emerging countries, Dr Darkwa noted, have used Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) to transform their economies and made ICT core part of their annual budget allocations.
“ICT constitute 10.5 per cent in the Gross Domestic Product of Malaysia, and the goal is to boost it to 17 per cent by 2020. “Education is undergoing significant changes due to new technologies and innovations, which have impacted positively on higher education provision.
The impact has led to new pedagogical models. “Over the next conceivable years, it is predicted that these new technologies will put education within the reach of many individuals and will allow greater specialisation in curriculum and teaching methodologies
. “While the conventional setting of the lecture hall will continue to form the bedrock of educational systems, it will be enhanced by integration of new online learning tools,” he noted.
Dr Darkwa said engineers are now tackling complex social issues such as poverty, inequality, disaster recovery, climate change, and infrastructure development than ever before.
“But our universities are working to catch up with these new realities. The drive to drive to improve living conditions of the least privileged citizens of the world, Ghana and overseas seems to be almost entirely absent from engineering education in Ghana.”
He said engineers possess the technical knowledge and problem solving skills to respond to constant changes, and are therefore well positioned to work with other disciplines, including scientists and designers, to provide a stream of ideas and technical responses essential for sustainable competitive industries.
He said the ability of engineers to build Ghana into the future will depend on changes that will occur over the next decade or so, but “we have too few students studying science, technology, mathematics, and engineering subjects, too few going into engineering at the universities, and a shortage of engineering skills across the economy as a result.
“We need to create a culture of learning driven by innovative thinking, anchored in collaboration and built on recognition that the changes in our world are inevitable. “Future generation of engineers has to contribute to ensure new ideas and solutions lead to continuous improvement in the quality of life in Ghana.”
On free enterprises, Dr Darkwa said entrepreneurs are visionary activists who excel in the creation of opportunities and active in handling of risks and uncertainties.
He said the numbers of poor people are increasing and as strategies are being reinvented about the way services are provided to the underserved, it is imperative to remember “significant market at the bottom of the pyramid”. “This is over four billion poor people who are unserved or underserved by the large organised private sector.
“Four to five billion poor can be the engine of the next round of global trade and prosperity and we need innovative approach to address their needs,” he said. Dr Darkwa said there are benefits of encouraging entrepreneurship go beyond economics, and as people gain confidence, financial freedom and access to information, they are better able to participate in the governance process and positively affect large groups of people or dependents.