Friday, December 11, 2015

Use research expertise to drive entrepreneurial growth

Universities must use their research expertise to drive entrepreneurial growth through creation of businesses for the country, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Winneba, Prof. Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, has said.

As seedbeds for scientific research breakthroughs and technological innovation, he said universities should create an environment that encourage and promote university start-ups.

 “Universities in Ghana could play a greater role in economic development of the country if they can transfer research knowledge into economic growth and employment generation, he stated.
Prof. Anamuah-Mensah was addressing the 12th congregation of the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC) last Saturday, in Accra.

The ceremony was on the theme “Techno-Entrepreneurship: The Gateway to National Development”.
Out of the 1,132 students that graduated, 205 were awarded postgraduate degrees and 927 diploma and undergraduate degrees.

A new model
According to Prof. Anamuah-Mensah the old training model of universities that prepared people to automatically enter into the world of work, once they held a paper certificate did not specify their competencies and skills, and also was no more.

He said, that was rapidly being replaced by a model that emphasised on disciplinary competencies, creative, critical and innovative skills, communication and problem-based skills.

He said there was, therefore, a mismatch between skill-sets required in the world of work and those experienced by graduates in their training.
“As a result, the country is confronted with increasing number of graduates who hold certificates but are unemployed,” Prof Anamuah-Mensah said.

Universities should commercialise
Therefore, for universities to contribute to job creation and wealth, Prof. Anamuah-Mensah said universities needed to set up their own commercial ventures and emphasise on product development.

“Countries are prospering because of the university’s role on the impact of technology on businesses. One university that has transformed its locality and nation is Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” Prof. Anamuah-Mensah stated.

By encouraging faculty members to pursue private venture outside the research lab, he said the institute start-up companies generated $240 billion worth of sales per year and provided an additional 1.1 million new jobs for the US economy.

Therefore, to encourage techno-entrepreneurship in the universities, Prof. Anamuah-Mensah said there was the need to adjust university programmes to include techno-entrepreneurship.

The President of the GTUC, Dr Osei K. Darkwa in his address, said the increased student numbers for access to tertiary education put a lot of pressure on public universities hence the need for private participation.

To compliment governments efforts, GTUC has established network campuses in five out of the 10 regions in Ghana with sub-regional learning centres in Togo and Gabon.
Considering the role of professionals in the country’s development, he said the college was committed to ensuring that graduates were adequately prepared for the job.



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