A Biomedical Engineering lecturer, Prof. Elsie Effah Kaufmann is worried about the huge pressure on students studying science to develop inventions aimed at solving global issues.
She is of the view that the increasing expectations have led to some innovations that lack basic scientific concepts to drive the needed solutions.
The founding head of the Department of Orthotics and Prosthetics at the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) in Ho warned that forcing students to be inventive if not tied to a deep understanding of scientific theories before their application to real-life situations is problematic for technological advancement.
She was speaking on the Point of View where she lamented pressurizing young inventors to make new products without the proper science foundation .
“Science foundation is extremely important. We need to make sure that our students have the basic foundation upon which they can build to apply.”
“There is a reason why there is a progression of knowledge in the educational system. There is a new trend of people wanting everyone to start inventing without consideration for the fundamentals and that is a problem,” she stressed.
To reverse the trend, Prof. Kaufman, said there is a need for a shift in the mode of teaching and learning at all levels of education.
For her, a more radical approach from the theoretical to a rather practical form of education is key.
“Right now, what most teachers are doing is basically going to class, rattling what the law is, and moving on. There is no deep understanding because they do not demonstrate the process through practical means.”
She added that until such a time when the emphasis is placed on practical lessons, expectations of using science to find new ways of doing things will not be met.
“What is missing is the method that we can use to make these foundations easily understood. You see people’s designs, and you ask them of the scientific concept applied and there is no answer. I am expecting that the experimentation they are doing is meant to augment the theory they are being given but not to expect all the way new products to be developed at the basic school. It doesn’t happen that way.”
Prof. Effah Kaufmann is the President of the Ghana Society of Biomedical Engineers. She is also the quiz mistress of the famous National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ).
Her areas of interest include biomaterials, tissue engineering and engineering design.