As part of their academic pursuits, final year students of various tertiary institutions who study for First Degree (and some Diploma) are required to select topics and do research on them – popularly known as Project/Research Work/Long Essay.
It is a brilliant academic requirement because it offers the students the privilege to have some sort of practical application of the knowledge they have acquired from their major courses of studies after 3 or 4 years of studies – as well as research into a problem and make realistic recommendations for policy formulation and implementation.
Time we are told isn’t constant and this is evident in the things we see around us today. Countries that have chalked down success (and still succeeding) in their economies, did and still doing so through constant research works.
Scholars and graduates in many developed countries have invented and still inventing – not solely because they pose some kind of special qualities that can never be found in the Ghanaian. Their ingeniousness and research findings, are simply put to use.
So after many years, perhaps, before antiquity was born, that various institutions of higher learning have compelled students to produce voluminous research works, the nagging questions one may ask now are:
How has the many project works tertiary graduates author helped/helping solve Ghana’s national problems – socially, economically, politically, and commerce-wise? Which particular national problem or crisis has ever been solved in which the solution was solicited from a tertiary graduate’s project work?
If there’s been any, how many can we give credit to? And if there’s none, why must final year students in tertiary institutions be made to carry out research works or project works – with its associated financial drain and strain on students when the previous ones haven’t been put to use?
Various tertiary institutions ensure students rack their brains to come up with project works. The final works are scored grades – just as the classroom modules are scored. Some score A+ – which by logical extension, stands to mean that, that research work is a good work that can be considered for policy formulation – yet, are left to the mercy of dust and cockroaches of university libraries.
Completing a project work doesn’t come cheap. It costs anxiety, time, money and physical stress – any tertiary graduate can relate to this. The anxiety thickens when one has to defend his or her topic before a panel of scholarly panel. Therefore, any project work left on the shelves to collect dust and decay simply means, resources have been wasted!
One fundamental question we have failed to ask ourselves all these years is, what problem have we identified that seeks to be addressed before we embark on a project? Suffice to state that, our various tertiary intuitions seem to be losing focus on this academic requirement called project or research work.
I hold such strong thought because day in day out, our problems as a nation keep compounding with our leaders trying their best to find solutions to these problems – but for all we may know, the answers or solutions may be hidden in various project works carried out but have been left decaying somewhere.
I believe it’s time for the state to start having special interest or stake in project works of tertiary students, challenge them with finding of solutions into some critical national crisis and if possible, acknowledged or give them national honours. Yes – national honour!
With the current situation, I dare say we are simply wasting resources on this academic requirement called project or research work and it would be reasonable the waste and burden are lifted off students.
Guest Writer: Paul Kwasi Fiahenoo.