Fourth Industry-Academia Interaction Series(IAIS)
REPORT ON THE INDUSTRY-ACADEMIA INTERACTION SERIES (IAIS) – UG 70TH ANNIVERSARY
As part of the University of Ghana’s 70th anniversary, the Institute of Applied Science and Technology in collaboration with the School of Engineering Sciences hosted an Industry –Academia Interaction Series on the 15th of October, 2018 at the Centre for African Wetlands auditorium and was moderated by Dr. Elsie Effah Kaufmann. The event began with an opening prayer from Ms. Jeanette Aduhene-Chinbuah. The Director of the Institute, Prof. George Oduro Nkansah, in his welcome address stated that this is the fourth Industry-Academia Interaction held by the Institute with the aim of facilitating engagements between industry and academia that will help promote research in areas of industrial or national interest and help find solutions to local and global issues. He added that it is a pleasure to have all seated audience for the Industry-Academia Interaction series and hope that the series will be educative and beneficial to everyone present. Mrs. Mammie Hutchful, a Research development officer, introduced the chairman for the event, Nana Osei Bonsu. Nana Osei Bonsu is currently the CEO of the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) of Ghana, a powerful and autonomous apex institution of all private businesses and trade associations in Ghana.
Dr. Elsie Effah Kaufmann (host)
Prof. Nkansah, Director of the IAST, during the welcome address
- KEYNOTE ADDRESS
In his keynote address on the theme for the series “UG@70: The New Paradigm for Industry-Academia Interface”, he stated that the increasing economic competition and growing complexities of the world today, calls for collaboration between industry and academia. He outlined some strategic ways that could be implemented to achieve this goal. He indicated that PEF has designed an online portal where entrepreneurs or users log on for online training and the University can do same by developing an IT interactive platform where industrialists can access to discuss their challenges and find possible solutions. He added that the University should organize mentorship sessions for students and a mandatory 3-months internship session for each academic year. He also recommended that the University lecturers should use case studies that reflect local experiences instead of foreign examples that do not resonate well with our local environment. In conclusion, he stated that more interaction series should be held to engage more industry stakeholders with students and the Institute of Applied Science and Technology is in a unique position to act as a conveyance point between the industry and academia.
Nana Osei Bonsu, CEO of Private Enterprise Foundation, in his keynote address
- PLENARY SESSION
a. “Quality Packaging: An Effective Tool for Market Penetration” by Mr. Godwin Adordie, CEO of Praise Exports Services limited.
Mr. Adordie stated that packaging is a very important tool in the marketing mix and a well packaged material should be able to glamorize a product in order to attract a consumer’s attention. He added that many consumers will judge a product first by its packaging before buying it, so creating compelling and alluring products will build first time buyers intrigue. He outlined some functions of a good packaging material which included containment, preservation, protection, information and transportation. Mr. Adordie stated that to get a good packaging material, you need to research and this calls for the application of the academic knowledge. He added that for instance, a material scientist will be needed to tell the right material to use taking into consideration the durability, the resistance to external factors, the recyclability, the cost, the weight and other factors.
Mr. Godwin Adordie, CEO of Praise Export Limited, during his presentation
b. The role of the Universities in Fostering Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Business Incubation” by Dr. Daniel McKorley, CEO of McDan Group of companies.
In his speech, Dr. McKorley stated that the University should raise results-oriented graduates to prepare them for the job market instead of focusing extensively on theoretical education. “Our university training is classified as one of the best in the sub-region but has fallen short in contemporary times to solve tailor-made industry related problems”, he said. He added that the framework for teaching and learning at our university must be re-engineered to regulate our current challenge, which is unemployment. He challenged Ghanaian graduates develop soft skills and a positive work ethic. Dr. McKorley stated that he organized a McDan challenge and over 7000 applicants submitted laudable ideas but most of them lack guidance and mentorship so he set-up an equity fund to start an incubator unit. He further challenged the University to set up incubation units for their students, an initiative which he has already started with the Institute.
Dr. Daniel McKorley, CEO of McDan Group of companies
c. Rise of the Robots: Is the Ghanaian Student ready?” was by the CEO and Co-founder of Impact Hub, Mr. Willliam Senyo
Mr. Senyo stated that before the Ghanaian student can compete globally, there needs to be a paradigm shift in our community and approach to training. He added that Impact Hub is a globally integrated entrepreneurial community that creates sustainable solutions to regional challenges in employment, financial inclusion, agriculture, health, and education. Mr. Senyo stated that Ghanaian students should begin to develop creative ideas and make effective use of the internet. Mr. Senyo shared his plight that over 6 years of existence of the Impact Hub, neither a government official or academic institution has visited them, barring the Institute of Applied Science and Technology. He added that 3 international Presidents have visited their office and are very appreciative of the work they are doing as a team.
Mr. William Senyo, CEO and Co-founder of Impact Hub
d. Good will Message from Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) by Mr. Seth Twum Akwaboah, CEO of the AGI.
Mr. Twum Akwaboah expressed his appreciation of the depth of knowledge shared so far. He added that AGI is the umbrella body of industries in Ghana and its collaboration with academia is very essential. He shared examples of such partnerships they have with some academic units and suggested that academia should be interested in some government policies that affect industries, if not a time will come when there will be fewer industries to partner with.
Mr. Seth Twum Akwaboah, CEO of Association of Ghana Industries(AGI)
- INTERACTIVE SESSION
- During the interactive session, a participant commended the speakers for the insightful speeches and stated that their critiques have been well accepted but sometimes it tends to be a blame game on academia. He added that the average Ghanaian student is very brilliant, but most times the equipment and facilities are not available. He challenged industry to support the university by donating equipment for practical sessions. Mr. Adordie commented that employers look for problem solvers but most graduates looking for jobs are interested in the salary package instead of what they can do to enhance the organization.
- A participant suggested that a government representative should be invited to be a part of the next interaction series because government policies also play a part in our tertiary education.
Prof. Adaboh, Dean of School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, making his submission
- A lecturer from the University of Ghana pleaded with industry stakeholders to also come and share their experiences with students during lecture hours.
- A computer science student stated that graduates are not to be blamed for not acquiring technical skills for the job market because the opportunities to get involved in the practical sessions are not made available to them.
- According to Mr. Senyo, there are no collaborations between academia and industries because there is mistrust and people like to be working in the silos but when both parties have a good intent towards each other, things will move in the right direction.
In the closing remarks, Nana Osei Bonsu stated that the Industry Academia Interaction Series is not a blame game but it is organized to tease out the innovative ideas in our academia and provide the practical exposure to students. He lamented at the attendance of the students and indicated that the attitude of the average Ghanaian has to change. He stated that for instance, the program was supposed to start at 2pm but people turned up when the program was about to end.
In his recommendations, Nana Osei Bonsu suggested that the University should ensure a mandatory 3-months internship session for each academic year and advised students to do the right things by seeking counsel when necessary. He added that together with the institute, a proposal is being prepared to be submitted for the establishment of incubator units for all departments on campus. In conclusion, he stated that the Institute would organize more interaction series to expose students to the job market.
Dr. Sintim, a Research Fellow at the Institute, in delivering the vote of thanks expressed his gratitude to the speakers, the UG staff, the representatives from industry, the student community and all those who made it a point to attend the interaction series.
Some members of the audience