Dr Elsie Effah Kaufmann the Quiz Master for the National Science and Maths quiz says Ghana has placed more focus on getting degrees rather than acquiring needed skills.
She explained that for a long time the idea behind university education has been on getting a degree rather than learning the required skills to solve specific problems in the country and it was, therefore, time for a shift in focus.
Mrs Kaufmann who was speaking on the ‘African Excellence Series’ on Springboard, Your Virtual University, a radio programme on Joy Fm, said : “For so long we have valued the degrees, so somebody goes to school and the aim is not to learn anything new, but to get the end results which is the certificate.”
“That certificate in their minds entitles them to certain privileges, whether they are using the knowledge they have acquired or not is not a concern to them,” she noted.
Dr Elsie Effah Kaufmann
Dr Kaufmann, who is also a Senior Lecturer of the Biomedical Engineering Department of the University of Ghana, pointed out that there was a lot of power in knowledge.
“If we had knowledge in science, engineering and mathematics, we should be able to solve all our problems because that is what the training helps us to do, to be able to appreciate the problems around us, understand them and come up with solutions and to even go further in making our environments and society better and more comfortable,” she explained.
“Unfortunately, what has been happening over the years is that people perceive these subjects to be very abstract, so they go to school and study them alright but just for the certificate.
They just go and memorise some facts; they have some knowledge of what these subjects are about, but they don’t continue to the actual problem-solving part of it,” she added.
She said universities keep awarding certificates to students without finding out if the students had indeed learnt and acquired any skills to help improve society.
“We are not applying or translating the massive amount of knowledge we have into application. You get knowledge in a particular discipline in order to equip you to deal with your reality.
When asked about how to change the current situation she argued that we will need to change our midsets first.
“When you come to the university, what sort of skills are you supposed to acquire? What should you be able to do? These are questions we need to start asking ourselves,” she stated.
“If I know when I go to school to study a particular course, these are the things I’m supposed to do with the knowledge I have acquired, things will improve,” she added.
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