The Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies (UDS), Prof. Gabriel Ayum Teye, has said key government policies such as the free Senior High School (SHS) must be backed by research to ensure they succeed.
Government this year implemented its ambitious free SHS policy to enroll over 400,000 Junior High School graduates into second cycle institutions across the country.
The pro-poor policy, which many individuals have commended government for, also comes with many challenges – ranging from infrastructure deficits, inadequate desks, and insufficient teaching and learning materials.
While commending government for the bold initiative, the UDS Vice-Chancellor urged it to back the policy with research in order to ensure it succeeds and is sustainable going into the future.
“As an individual academic institute we have been doing our research and publishing reports, but how does it benefit the society? So, if you are coming out with a policy you can use this research – for instance, with free SHS.
“So when we get this, it’s not like somebody is getting up and coming out with something that will fail because there is evidence [research] backing it,” he said.
He was speaking at the launch of a new UNICEF and UDS initiative to support research on inclusive development in Ghana. He said findings from the research will remain the most reliable source of direction for Ghana’s development.
Sarah Hague, UNICEF Ghana’s Chief Policy, said the country’s first-ever research network will fill a gap in terms of supporting academia to promote the issue of genuinely inclusive development in Ghana.
“As the gap between rich and poor has never been greater in Ghana than today, the country needs research inputs to tackle the issue even more than ever,” she said.
Meanwhile, government has promised to increase funding for Research and Development (R&D) to 2.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the long-term, to boost all research programmes in both private and public institutions in the country.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the graduation ceremony of the All Nations University College in Koforidua, said: “I have also promised to increase funding for Research and Development (R&D). In the short- to medium-term 1 percent of GDP will be devoted to that, which will be raised to 2.5% of GDP in the long-term. R&D funds will be made available for all research activities in both public and private educational and research institutions”.