Science has shaped our world over the past centuries, if not for scientists such as the likes of Robert Koch, Newton, Prof. Francis Allotey, Einstein, Pastuer, just to mention a few, our world would have been in ……….., mtssww, herh lemme go straight to my point, As the western world have invested heavily in the area of scientific research, Africa (Ghana) seems to care less.
So I ask myself, is it because we lack the technical know-how or simply because our leaders have no interest and see not how valuable scientific research is. The latter seems to be very true and factual. Today, almost every tertiary institution in Ghana offer courses in the sciences. Students successfully graduate with Bsc. Hons in; Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Earth science, Marine science, etc., all these degrees and knowledge acquired become almost useless.
The sin these science students commit is failure to enroll in any of the health and science related professional programmes ( including nursing, medicine, radiography, physiotherapy, engineering, etc, etc.) and sadly these brilliant students are punished for it. These science students who would have been the future Prof. Alloteys of Ghana are lost to the humanities.
Serious governments in the western world make available infrastructure and funding purposely for scientific research and they benefit from it. They invest in the production of vaccines for instance accumulating huge sums of money from it, the sad aspect is that African governments including Ghana’s purchase large proportions of these vaccines.
I ask myself again, is it because our leaders believe we are not smart enough? (y’abon anaa??) Or its mere “abr) ne beyie”. NOGUCHI Medical Research Institute, KCCR and other research institutions sadly receive funding from these western contries and are forced to research into areas that would benefit these western countries. So think about it oo, they tap the knowledge of our own people for their benefit and as well sell the fruits of the research works back to us simply because some greedy politician wants to make a “percentage into his pocket”. Pure abr) ne beyie, anka why would we offer an opportunity for a Volgswagen and Toyota to establish production of vehicles in Ghana neglecting Apostle Kwadwo Safo over the years. Even vehicles made by him are not purchased when vehicles are being procured by government.
Kakra a mr. politician go chop nti. If our own would not be supported in the field of science, then mr. politician its better we stop learning science in our contry and decide to depend soley on the West. It is atleast encouraging when I hear Prez. Akuffo Addo encourage the likes Jude Osei and the students from Obuase Sec. Tech who have manufactured solar-powered sensitive handwashing basin and hand sensitive veronica buckets respectively. Im sure there are many such brilliant guys out there doing marvellous things in the sciences.
But Mr. Prez ee spoken word is not enough ootom, empower them financially, because, when you do that the nation benefits too, people are employed. University of Ghana being able to successfully sequence the genomes of SARS-coV-2 is another encouraging news. This establishes the fact that we have the technical know-how (the brains). With a little funding, even vaccines that we wait on the whites for would be developed by our own creating a multi-million scientific industry.
I dont know, it seems the blackman thinks only the white is capable of science. Can you imagine when one Alhaji Grunsah ( A Ghanain Club owner) was asked on an interview on Asempa fm why he likes appointing white coaches his response was “who invented the microphone the sports journalist was speaking through (shoutout to you Kobby Stone). Alhaji Grunsah I dont blame you kraa, but you have to know we can do it.The blackman is capable of managing his own affairs (aahh Dr. Kwame Nkrumah may your soul rest in peace) This statement will and can only be true when our leaders invest in science, build the necessary infrastructure, empower reasearch institutions with funding, support people when they invent something in their little corner.
I tell you what, these politicians leading us know all of these but what I dont understand is why they dont do them. When I think about all of these, I’m tempted to believe what one journalist always says “Nyame ama bibiara nanso w’amma y3n ‘nipa’ (Shoutout Kofi Owusu Jerry). If Apostle Kwadwo Safo has been neglected over these years (it isn’t too late to support him though) I hope and pray future Ghanaian scientific inventors and developers would not be neglected by government and governments to come.
I know I’m talking too much but ive not even highlighted how science education in Ghana has been so theoretical, how science labs are poorly resourced, how large percentage of citizens do not appreciate basic science practices such as washing of hands with soap and many others, “ns3m fon ehi papa” but to conclude, for me I would say Covid-19 has been a blessing in disguise exposing not only the failure of Ghanaian governments over the years in relation to adressing the social needs of its people, but also exposing how science has been treated in our country.
As said in Bill Withers song lean on me that “sometimes in our lives we all have pain we all have sorrows, but if we are wise we know that there’s always tomorrow”. We’ve had so many tomorrows as a countries but failed to utilize them, Surely we will have another tomorrow, a gift, I pray us particularly our leaders that God may fill our heart with humility inorder not to make this tomorrow (post corona) meaningless, but chance on it and have mercy on our country for it has suffered enough and make our nation great and strong.
Adomako Francis Twum-Barima
A National Service Personnel at the University of Ghana, Department of Plant and Environmental Biology