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General News of Friday, 11 February 2005

Source: GhanaWeb Correspondent

Churcher appears before appointment committee

Accra, Feb. 10, GNA - Ms. Christian Churcher, Minister designate for Environment and Science, on Thursday said the work of scientists and researchers should be recognised and rewarded to encourage them perform to the best of their ability for the development of the nation. She said, "Science is the key to unlocking the shackles of poverty and without it we cannot do much with our development." Ms Churcher said these when she took her turn at the vetting of ministerial nominees by the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

She said most developed countries as well as developing countries like India apply science in any of their developmental endeavour and that, "It is about time that we recognise the work of our hard working scientists and researchers." "I will do all in my capacity to advocate and present every paper necessary that will ensure that they are taken care of properly." She wondered where Ghana would have been without its scientists and gave the assurance that she would ensure the funding for research and the necessary equipment needed for their job.

The Minister-designate said she would ensure the institution of an annual award day for scientists and researchers like that of teachers and farmers so that they could be given the national recognition that they deserve. "It is also very necessary to identify young students in the field of science and encourage them to do more research with the guidance of their senior and older colleagues." Ms Churcher expressed regret about the low salaries of researchers and scientists "who toil to find out the causes of 'how and why' so as to find solution for the development of the nation."

"I will wish that science and technology is placed under the Presidential Special Initiative (PSI) to attract the necessary attention and recognition." She said one other area that needs to be tackled is educating the public about inventions and findings of the researchers so that it could be used productively. Ms Churcher, who is NPP MP for Cape Coast said she would see to the strengthening of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to play the role of expected of them.

Asked what was her major achievement when she was at the Ministry of Education, she said she ensured that children of school-going age, especially girls enrolled into schools, adding that in some cases they out-numbered boys in areas where it was a taboo for girls to go to school. She said, solving the problems of environmental pollution would be a multi-sectorial approach and that she would collaborate with the Ministry of Mines, Local Government and Rural Development and allied departments to find ways of minimising the damage it causes to the environment.