Prioritising investment in university research

Established in 1960, the Ghana Scholarships Secretariat is responsible for administering government scholarships both domestically and internationally. 

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While its primary focus has been on providing financial aid and training opportunities, there is an increasing need to redirect resources towards enhancing research capabilities within universities.

This shift will contribute to the country's sustainable development goals and foster national progress.

Enhancing infrastructure

Investing in local universities' infrastructure and facilities will help Ghanaian universities to improve the learning environments and attract talented faculty and outstanding students.

The funds that are currently allocated for scholarships abroad can be utilised to create state-of-the-art laboratories and research centres, to contribute to raising academic standards and fostering comprehensive regional development.

Additionally, prioritising investment in local university research will help retain talent and prevent brain drain.

Currently, some Ghanaian students who receive scholarships to study abroad do not return, resulting in a loss of valuable human resources.

By focusing on the development of local higher education institutions, talented individuals will be incentivised to contribute to the country, fostering innovation and progress within.

Research for national needs

Directing resources towards local universities also enables them to conduct research that aligns with the country's needs and priorities.

When we allocate a minimum of one to five per cent of the nation’s GDP to research investments at the nation’s higher institutions of learning; we can enhance innovation, technology and healthcare sectors.

That proactive approach would lead to the development of tailored solutions to address specific challenges, ultimately improving life and fostering economic growth.

Furthermore, investing in local research has a positive impact on the local economy.

Collaboration between universities, industries and the government can result in the emergence of new fields, job opportunities and the establishment of innovative start-ups.

This self-reliant approach reduces the nation's dependency on foreign expertise and solutions, stimulating economic growth and creating a more sustainable future.

Government funding for local research also contributes to a culture of intellectual curiosity and academic excellence within Ghana.

Successful researchers and scholars inspire the younger generation to pursue higher education and contribute to society.

By prioritising investment in local university research, Ghana can strengthen its intellectual capital and build a sustainable development model for the future.

Moreover, investing in local research is also a cost-effective approach.

Scholarships abroad often come with significant financial implications, including tuition fees, accommodation, transportation and other associated costs.

By redirecting these funds towards local research facilities and quality education within the country, the government maximises the use of available resources.

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This ensures that the best minds in Ghana are retained for national development and that the country's limited financial resources are utilised efficiently and effectively.

Conclusion

In conclusion, prioritising investment in local university research is crucial for Ghana's advancement.

By redirecting resources towards the enhancement of local universities and research capabilities, Ghana can foster sustainable development, prevent brain drain, promote local research, stimulate economic growth, cultivate a culture of research excellence, and maximise cost-effectiveness.

It is time to shift the focus of the Ghana Scholarships Secretariat towards prioritising domestic university research, as this will contribute to the overall progress and development of the country.

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With the Free Senior High school policy in full swing to produce a large number of qualified students ready to enter the local university system, the government must seize this opportunity to invest in research and build a better future for Ghana.

The writer is a filmmaker, advertising and marketing practitioner.

E-mail: [email protected]

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