The two-day conference, on the theme: “Promoting Development through Technology, Entrepreneurship and Innovation,” seeks to create an environment that would bring together like-minded individuals and groups to share knowledge in the areas of education, technology and entrepreneurship.
Being the first of what would be an annual event, the ICETE would serve as a platform for further discussions in the areas of education, technology, and entrepreneurship as key components for the study of economic growth.
Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, said in these times when the world economy was knowledge-based and science and technology-driven, the most important parameter in the production process was the human capital otherwise known as human integrity.
“Countries and cultures that have acquired the requisite human capital and technology rule the world. That is why there are countries in the world that have little or no natural resources but are much richer than those with abundant natural resources,” he said.
“It is for this reason why the poverty gap is a technology gap and not natural resources gap. In actual fact, natural resources have no natural owners. Those who own the resources are those countries that have the human capital and technology to exploit them,” he said.
He pointed out that education had to come in as tool to prepare Ghana to develop its natural talents which some might call ability.
“You may have talent, but without exposure to an environment that will help unearth the talent and the knowledge that must be applied for it to become useful, the talent may not be exposed,” he said.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said there were different kinds of knowledge such as “know-what, know-why, know-how, and know-who” which refer to knowledge about facts, scientific knowledge of the principles and laws of nature, skills and capability to do something, and information about who knows what and who knows how to do what.
He said whether a nation would ultimately succeed there were three things involved; ability, motivation, and attitude.
“Ability determines what a person is capable of doing given the right training and exposure. It is a potential force that needs to be developed.
“Having unearthed that ability, motivation determines what the person does with his ability. Motivation may take many forms, including provision of a conducive environment, better wages or salary or simple recognition,” he said.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said attitude determined how well a person did what he did adding; “a talented person who is well motivated can still be a failure if he has got the wrong attitude towards work,” he said.
Prof. Osei K. Darkwa, the President of GTUC, said the theme of the conference was timely and relevant to today’s world saying; “it came at a time when a number of higher educational institutions are exploring ways to transform their delivery options and promote entrepreneurship and innovation.”
“For a developing country like Ghana, it is an equally important conversation to have because all three subjects (technology, entrepreneurship and education) are intrinsically connected to our development as a people and a nation,” he said.
He said institutions of higher learning ought to be challenged to move into science, technology and technical-oriented education because technology could offer real opportunities to improve the quality of life of the people.
On education, Prof. Darkwa said education provided knowledge and knowledge had now become the key to wealth creation and the alleviation of poverty.
“Due to their unique role in society, our educational institutions have become an essential part of the fabric of our civilization and civic life.
“Our universities must work hard to catch up with the new reality of providing an education that frees the imagination and provide not only a degree but the flexibility, insight and foresight that comes from thinking creatively, asking critical questions, forming and testing hypothesis and reasoning quantitatively”, he added.
The conference is being attended by businessmen, entrepreneurs, academics, researchers, industrialists, politicians and students.
The ICETE hopes to provide a friendly and nurturing environment where participants would share their research experiences with colleagues, interact with accomplished professionals in various fields and create a networking opportunity for long term professional and business relationships.