The Faculty of Arts has held its Third Colloquium with a call for an interdisciplinary approach in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Colloquium which was on the theme “Attaining the SDGs 4 and 15: The Role of the Humanities” brought together scholars from UCC and other Universities in Ghana and some African countries. The SDG 4 focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all while SDG 15 deals with protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation and stopping biodiversity loss.
Importance of Education to Addressing SDGs 4 and 15
In his address at the opening ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, who was represented by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. George K. T. Oduro, commended the Faculty of Arts for the choice of theme for the Colloquium, adding that the world and especially Ghana, was currently facing numerous challenges associated with education and the environment. He indicated that numerous studies have confirmed that for a nation to develop, its citizens should be well educated to be able to efficiently and effectively manage the affairs of the nation.
The Vice-Chancellor said though inclusive equitable quality education was expensive, the nation ought to invest in it. “The formulation of educational policies should, therefore, be based on sound research findings and should be backed by commitment from all stakeholders to ensure its success,” he noted.
Prof. Ampiah said ensuring sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystem has been of serious concern to Governments all over the world, including Ghana. He noted that the effects of human activities on the land have over the years endangered the survival of human beings, animals and plants. “These human activities have caused among other things, depletion of the ozone layer leading to climate change, flooding, drought, desertification, loss of life and property and pollution of water bodies” he stated. Ghana, according to him, has had a fair share of the negative impact of the unreasonable engagements with the environment.
Role of Humanities in Addressing SDGs 4 and 15
Delivering the keynote address, a former Minister for Education, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, said the Humanities have an important role to play in the attainment of SDGs 4 and 15 adding that “the Humanities form the cradle of all disciplines”. She noted that the 17 SDGs were aimed at tackling the world’s most pressing challenges of ending famine, poverty, ensuring economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. She emphsised that “the role of the humanities is to ensure that this happens”.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang who is also a former Vice-Chancellor of UCC stated that the Humanities helped to appreciate the diversity and complexity of the world. “The Humanities pave the way in which we engage our thoughts and activities by developing the cultural, historical, philosophical, linguistic and artistic dimension of our human experience” she indicated. She therefore, called on the Faculty of Arts to begin to orient students on the importance of the Humanities in a very conscious way.
Purpose of the Colloquium
The Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Prof. Joseph B. A. Afful explained that the Colloquium served as a platform for researchers in the Arts and Humanities in Ghana and abroad to dispassionately discuss issues of national and international development with a link to the Research Agenda of the University. He said 34 abstracts have been submitted based on the theme for the 2018 Colloquium.
Prof. Afful noted Education and Terrestrial Ecosystems were not only related to disciplines in Education and the Natural Sciences but the Humanities have a crucial role to play in addressing them. He explained that there were varied disciplines that were closely connected to Education and Terrestrial Ecosystems adding that “In the University of Cape Coast, we provide the content of some subjects in Education and deal with the philosophy, history, and communication in relation to issues bordering on Terrestrial Ecosystems”.
The Dean of the Faculty of Arts, said there was the need to research into the relationship between Education and Terrestrial Ecosystems to serve as their contributions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. “The abstracts for the presentations show that it is very necessary for researchers in all disciplines in the Humanities to consider Education and Terrestrial Ecosystems as important research sites for the good of the people” he indicated.
The Colloquium was chaired by the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of UCC, Prof. Domwini Dabire Kuupole.