Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyeman, Minister for Education, last Tuesday said government was working to transform the Laser and Fibre Optics Centre at the University of Cape Coast, into a leading and a fully fledged institute to enhance research and training in agriculture, climate monitoring, spectroscopy, communication and health.
She said the transformation of the centre would also create a hub of research and development of benefit to the photonics industry, as well as build capacity to engage in emerging areas in the sciences and technology.
Prof Agyeman said this during the launch of the 2015 International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies in Accra, which was to expose Ghanaians to the importance of light to the socio-economic development of Ghana and the world at large.
She intimated that light had become necessary to the existence of life in itself as light sciences had revolutionalized medicine, energy and optical technologies, which had become part of the basic infrastructure of modern communication.
She pointed out that due to the emergence of solar light, clinics in rural areas which hitherto did not have access to light, were been powered by solar.
“Government would also set up solar power research centre to harness the use of the sun or solar in the country,” she added.
Enumerating on the rational for the International Year of Light, Prof Paul Kingsley Buah-Bassuah, Lecturer, Laser and Fibre Optics Centre, Department of Physics, University of Cape Coast, said the idea was mooted by Ghana during the 190th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board in Paris, in partnership with Mexico, Russia and New Zealand.
He said the proclamation of the IYL was to focus on light and its applications, adding that Ghana’s initiative brought on board societies across the globe, including the Optical Societies, Scientific Unions, and photonic giant industries.
He said the official launch in Ghana was also intended to inform Ghanaians and Africa about the Africa Regional Conference and Exhibition, to celebrate International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies in Accra from May 26 to 28.
Some of the topics to be treated are: light as an Enabling Technology in Medicine, Energy, Communications and Agriculture.
Others include Light for Development Using Solar Power for Environmental Sustainability, Light’s Influence on Arts and Culture and Exploring the Science of Light in the Humanities.
Mr Tirso Dos Santos, UNESCO Representative to Ghana, lauded the use of light to the socio-economic development of the world, which had provided global-based technology.
He intimated that light had become vital in the 21st century, and that due to its importance, it had managed to attract the brilliant minds of the world in the form of inventors,.
He pledged the readiness of UNESCO to partner Government to raise awareness on the importance of light and its related benefits in the country.