The subject matter permeating all presentations at a seminar and job fair organised by the School of Business at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is the need for an effective collaboration between academia and the corporate world.
The fair was held on March 1, 2012 at the campus of the KNUST as part of the 6TH Annual Business Week of the School on the theme: “Bridging the gap between Academia, Industry and Government”.
Addressing participants at the programme, the Managing Director of Barclays Bank Ghana Ltd, Mr. Benjamin Debrah, noted the need for government as major stakeholders to provide a policy framework for the educational sector which will target areas steering the economy.
“Too often policy is geared towards the sectors that the government will like to develop as supposed to sectors driving the economy. For example, recent Gross Domestic Product figures suggest that services sector is of growing importance. Have we revised our education policy to reflect this? ” he questioned.
The banking mogul also emphasised the need for government to encourage industry players to create linkage with academia by providing incentives such as tax reduction.
“If the money I give for research for instance is treated as tax deductible when I declare my results, it will encourage me to do more than I currently do,” Mr. Debrah added.
The Managing Director also acknowledged the inability of research conducted by the universities to meet industry problems. He therefore proposed a system that should be instituted for lecturers to take jobs in industries during sabbatical to keep them abreast of industry problems.
“When lecturers take sabbatical, they go to universities in other countries to teach; what about taking a sabbatical and going into the industry to actually learn the needs of industry so that you can reflect that in your teaching work,” he advised.
Presenting a speech on the role of academia, the Provost of the College of Arts and Social Sciences, Prof. S.K. Afrane, admitted the need for the universities to be dynamic in order to meet changing trends of the modern corporate world.
The professor is therefore calling for the review of academic curricula of business schools in Ghana.
“I propose that, curriculum of business schools should be redesigned to make a large number of students practical entrepreneurs. There should be a shift from head knowledge to more use of hands”.
By David Apinga, Focus FM, KNUST, Kumasi