The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is offering $1.5 million worth of scholarship to 1,000 students to pursue science, mathematics and technical education in the country’s tertiary institutions.
The move is to ensure there are more qualified Ghanaian technologists in the oil and gas industry capable of contributing constructively to the country’s development.
Fifty per cent of the grant would be used to support women studying Engineering as part of efforts to promote gender parity in Science and Engineering education at the tertiary level.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GNPC, Dr Kofi Koduah Sarpong, made the disclosure last Wednesday in Kumasi when he addressed the Second International Conference on Engineering, Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship.
The three-day conference was to help map out new paths for science and technology in Africa. The meeting was held under the theme, ‘Promoting sustainable development through engineering, science, technology and entrepreneurship.’
The support from GNPC emphasises the collaborative relationship between the company and academia with regard to promoting research as a key catalyst for development.
The grant support is anticipated to be preferential towards the study of Physics, Chemistry and Biology and the geosciences.
Speaking on the sub-theme, “The role of science, technology and entrepreneurship in the oil and gas industry,” Dr Sarpong said in addition to the scholarship, the GNPC was providing technical support to local contractors and engineers in the oil and gas industry to assist them compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.
“Science and technology are the drivers for any country hoping to develop fast and Ghana is no exception,” he said.
Dr Sarpong announced that in order to see actualisation of the investment made, the GNPC was establishing a Centre of Excellence in Oil and Gas to spearhead research into the sector in aid of the country’s development.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, said the government had increased funding for research from less than one per cent to one per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
He said there was the likelihood that the amount would be increased to 2.5 per cent of GDP in the nearest future.
Prof. Frimpong Boateng said in its short term in office, the government had demonstrated the will to aggressively support research for the benefit of industry.
He said through research, it should be possible for Ghana to rely on locally produced goods and not to be dependent on foreigners.
“Ghana must be capable of building the capacities of its engineers to begin to build ‘our own FPSO,” he said.