Speech:The Second Meeting Of The National Committee On Research In The Social Sciences And Humanities

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Speech at The Second Meeting Of The National Committee On Research In The Social Sciences And Humanities  Hippo View Lodge 29th November 2013

Salutations 

  • Prof Wiseman Chijere-Chirwa, Chairman of the National Committee on Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Dr Peter Mvula, Vice Chairperson of the Committee;
  • All members here present; and
  • My Colleague from the Secretariat

Good Morning Everyone! When the secretariat was in discussion with you, Mr. Chairman, to call for this meeting, I had been in the office for just two weeks. I asked Mr. Kachedwa to arrange that I come to this meeting in order to pay a courtesy call on you members. As days were passing, I found that the urge to pay this courtesy call was becoming more compelling than before. So I am happy today to come here to quench that urge.

Mr. Chairman, when I first assumed office of Director General two months ago, I embarked on a preliminary familiarization programme with the activities of various sections and departments of the Commission. One such section is the section of Health, Social Sciences and Humanities that is responsible for the activities of the National Committee on Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities. I was adequately briefed on the mandate and functions of this committee and on all other committees of the Commission. As you already know, this committee, just like other technical subject specialist committees was established under section 11 of the Science and Technology Act No.16 of 2003 to assist the Commission in properly carrying out its functions.  In fact Mr Chairman, section11 (sub section 1) of this Act specifically states that

“—— the Commission may, for the purpose of performing its functions under this Act, establish other committees and delegate to any such committee such of its functions as it considers necessary”.

This committee is a pillar and a structure through which the NCST would be promoting, supporting, co-coordinating and regulating research in the social sciences and humanities. I, thus, thank you all for your acceptance and commitment to serve on this important committee.

Your committee is a research and ethics review committee at a national level in the social sciences and humanities. You have a duty entrusted to you by the national public. Simply put you are in a position of public trust. Hence, you need to guard against any elements that would cause a breach of public trust by always transacting your business within the framework of the national and international law as exemplified in various codes, declarations and protocols as well as within the framework of your own well articulated guidelines and standard operating procedures. I am happy that the committee already developed these guidelines and its specific standard operating procedures with the leadership of the committee. This is very commendable, Mr Chairman.

Promoting research is not to relax or abrogate the stipulated procedures, guidelines and laws. To promote social sciences and humanities research, the committee shall, among others, need to plan and execute demand-driven activities that are derived from the committee’s TORs that aim at promoting such research.

Colleagues, I do not need to make a speech because this is not the occasion for making speeches. Let me stop here so that you start transacting business of the meeting. Because of other prior commitments, I will not be here longer but you are in the hands of the Secretariat. I just thought I could pay you a short courtesy call. My door is open. You are always welcome.

THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION.

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