Industry and Academia Must Collaborate to Solve National Problems

A former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Prof. Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw has called on academia and industry to forge long lasting relationships to find solutions to challenges confronting the nation.

Prof. Asabere-Ameyaw noted that this relationship can be possible if universities strategically position themselves to access opportunities available in the quest to produce the quality human resource for the nation. He also said universities need to update skills in conducting research, and engage in activities that would ensure an educational system that would remain relevant at all times.

The former Vice-Chancellor of UEW made this call when he delivered the 2nd K. N. Eyeson Lecture of the School of Biological Sciences on the theme “Academia-Industry Synergy: the Way Forward” at the Main Auditorium.

Prof. Asabere-Ameyaw observed that establishing a beneficial working relationship between Universities and Industries has proven to be difficult and appears not to be rewarding to either side. He explained that there was the need for faculty and students to be involved with real problems and to share in providing solutions stressing that “We in academia need to bring our contributions to the classroom.” He explained that when university and industry find a common ground to meet each other’s needs, both partners achieve substantial mutual benefits.

In order to forge a long-standing relationship with industry, Prof. Asabere-Ameyaw recommended changes to the current regulations by academia to reduce red tape that has over the years impeded collaboration with industry. He also called for restructuring of academic programmes and added that “missions of universities should be redefined and resources should be provided to meet industry needs. Another way to strengthen the relationship is to encourage talented personnel from industry to work with students as part-time adjunct faculty.

Areas which he said universities and industry could consider  in the future for such collaborative venture include short-term, stop-gap consultation, trouble shooting and professional advice by experienced well seasoned faculty. He also mentioned long term joint research activities aimed at resolving chronic problems of industry and finding long lasting solutions.

Touching on the benefits of collaboration between Academia and Industry, the former Vice-Chancellor of UEW said “Joint collaboration can provide Academe with additional revenue and access to industrial equipment and setups that are not available on campus.” He noted that such ventures would also help overcome the complaints about education which according to him include “lack of hands-on experience, not enough teamwork, and textbook problems rather than real-world applications.”

In spite of the benefits of this collaboration, Prof. Asabere-Ameyaw cautioned that Universities would be in danger of becoming no more than the Research and Development sections of large companies through close partnership with Industry. Nonetheless, he said the benefits of this collaboration outweigh the dangers.

The Dean of the School of Biological Sciences, Prof. Johnson Boampong explained that the lecture series was instituted by the School to acknowledge the selfless and outstanding services of Prof. Eyeson  to the UCC and the nation.