Dr Kwasi Akyem Apea-Kubi, Eastern Regional Minister, has urged Ghanaians to appreciate the oil resource as a national asset whose management must be above sectional interests.
“In this regard, every Ghanaian must feel the positive blessings of our new found fortune; the oil wealth, he stated.
Dr Apea-Kubi said that being new in the oil producing industry, Ghanaians must take a cue from Nigeria, the world’s 10th largest producer of crude oil; and the fifth largest supplier of oil to the US, since its oil discovery in 1956.
He said research information had it that Shell had shipped oil from Nigeria for over 50 years but had, however, left the Niger Delta undeveloped and in a bad condition.
Dr Apea-Kubi said this in a speech, read on his behalf, at the opening ceremony of the fourth Annual Applied Research Conference of the Koforidua Polytechnic, on Wednesday.
The two-day conference is under the theme: “Ghana’s Emerging Oil Economy; the Contributions of the Polytechnics.”
The Regional Minister indicated that the Government would ensure that policies would include measures, which would make the oil companies take business and social responsibility seriously.
“Other issues of pollution and land degradation would be taken seriously,” he said.
Dr Apea-Kubi charged Polytechnics to take advantage of the presence of oil and gas to develop in the innovation and enterprise attributes of their students so that they would have the confidence and capacity to seize opportunities and bring Ghana to greater heights.
“For Polytechnics to develop the innovative capacity of your students, therefore, you must be innovative and be prepared to go beyond the tried and tested to potentially better ways of equipping our young for the future,” he advised.
“You must demonstrate the same qualities of inquiry, creativity, initiative and risk-taking that you seek to nurture in your students.”
Dr Apea-Kubi noted that for Polytechnics to succeed in their efforts to explore the learning experiences of their students, in the wake of Ghana’s emerging oil economy, they must first have a strong sense of what works, for whom and under what conditions.
He said that was why rigorous research was vital, adding, “Your efforts must be based on sound evidence and knowledge, not fad or opinion.”
“Solid educational research is an important part of our efforts to ensure that education in Ghana is always in time for the future.”
Dr Apea-Kubi challenged the Polytechnics to take a more direct initiative through research and other means to identify and anticipate national needs and bring its influence to bear on government in setting goals and objectives.
“By including Polytechnics in the formulation and implementation of economic development policies, the nation will be able to fashion a focused shared vision approach to economic development, sustained growth and stability,” he stated.
He urged Polytechnic teachers to test their own programmers and pedagogies, understand what worked and what did not and find out how to do better.
Dr Apea-Kubi said it would be useful if more teachers were trained to conduct small-scale action research, especially in oil and gas to evaluate the effectiveness of some of their innovative strategies.