The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa and the Ministry of Railways Development Issue a Joint Statement on an Agreement for the Establishment of the UMaT School of Railways and Infrastructure Development, Essikado, Sekondi-Takoradi

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Prof Kuma 1st from Right making a point at the Meeting
Prof Kuma (1st from Right) making a point at the Meeting

The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa and the Ministry of Railways Development have issued a joint statement on an agreement for the establishment of the UMaT School of Railways and Infrastructure Development to be based at Essikado, Sekondi-Takoradi. The ceremony took place during a meeting held at the Conference Room of the Administration block of the School on Thursday, 18th June, 2020.

In his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma thanked the Honourable Minister and the team from Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) for accepting to host the meeting. Prof Kuma giving a background, indicated that the establishment of the UMaT School of Railways and Infrastructure Development has come this far after a long but fruitful process. He further said that on 20th October, 2017, the Minister for Railways Development, Hon Joe Ghartey, was invited to be the Special Guest of Honour at the University’s Alumni Association’s Annual Alumni Lecture on the topic: “Ghana’s Railway Infrastructure Development: Challenges and Opportunities for the Minerals Industry in Ghana”.  It was during this time that the Minister brought up the idea to cooperate with UMaT to develop the Railway Training School into a tertiary institution under the mentorship of UMaT. Coincidentally, the University had also planned to ask him for the release of the facilities. It was the positive results of the discussions that culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tuesday, 15th May, 2018 at the Railways Training School, Essikado.

Prof Kuma emphasised that, since then, UMaT and the Ministry had played their respective roles very well to get the School ready for a smooth take off in the 2020/2021academic year.

Prof Kuma Signing the Statement
Prof Kuma Signing the Statement

Responding, the Honourable Minister expressed his excitement for being part of the meeting and to sign the joint statement. He was happy that the discussions that started after he visited UMaT in October, 2017 had become a reality. He indicated that it was a fact that UMaT and the mining industry were not strangers to the railway sector. According to the Honourable Minister, before he took office as the Minster in 2017, the Railways Training School had totally become dilapidated after its completion in1989. He noted that the contracts being executed currently have made the railway sector become a multi-billion-dollar investment entity in the country.  He made reference to contracts for the development of railway lines from Tema to Mpakadan and also from the Takoradi Port to Huni Valley and said that although these contracts had been signed were valued close to one billion dollars, they represent less than 200km of railways in the country. The Minister further said that if care was not taken, after 10 years of building the infrastructure in the railway sector, there would be no manpower for the management and maintenance of the infrastructure. He added that there is therefore to train and develop local expertise to maintain the rail network when the construction is completed.

It was for this reason that, the relevance of the programmes to be run by the UMaT School of Railways and Infrastructure Development cannot be over emphasised. He indicated that the School will have enormous impact on the immediate community and the region as a whole. He reiterated that his Ministry was poised to build a sustainable railways sector in the country.

Hon Joe Ghartey Signing Statement
Hon Joe Ghartey Signing Statement

 

Below is the statement.

 

Joint Statement from the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa and the Ministry of Railways Development on the Agreement for the Establishment of the UMaT School of Railways and Infrastructure Development,

Essikado, Sekondi-Takoradi

 

Introduction

The establishment of the UMaT School of Railways and Infrastructure Development has come this far after a long but fruitful process. This is a Satellite Campus of the University of Mines and Technology. Since 2017, the railway sector has seen monumental improvements and the revamping of the rail lines and therefore it has become imperative to start the School with relevant engineering programmes to train the needed manpower for the railways sector and allied industries.

On 20th October, 2017, the Minister for Railways Development, Hon Joe Ghartey, was invited to be the Special Guest of Honour at the University’s Alumni Association’s Annual Alumni Lecture on the topic: “Ghana’s Railway Infrastructure Development: Challenges and Opportunities for the Minerals Industry in Ghana”.  It was during this time that the Minister brought up the idea to cooperate with UMaT to develop the Railway Training School into a tertiary institution under the mentorship of UMaT. Coincidentally, the University had also planned to ask him for the release of the facilities. It was the positive results of the discussions that culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tuesday, 15th May, 2018 at the Railways Training School, Essikado.

UMaT and the Ministry have played their respective roles very well to get the School ready for a smooth take off in the 2020/2021academic year.

The programmes to be run at the School in the 2020/2021academic year include:

  • BSc Mechanical Engineering
  • BSc Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • BSc Computer Science and Engineering
  • BSc Geomatic Engineering
  • BSc Geological Engineering
  • BSc Environmental and Safety Engineering

The BSc Railway Engineering programme will come on board in the 2021/2022 academic year. It is still going through the necessary regulatory processes.

Relevance of the Programmes for the Railways Sector

The aim of this School is to train personnel for the railways sector and other allied industries. The National Development Policy has it that for the economy of the nation to significantly improve and to attain sustainable development, Institutions of Higher Learning should strive to train graduates with 60% in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programmes and 40% in humanities and Social Sciences. Therefore, the programmes to be run in the School are extremely relevant for the development of the sector and the country as a whole.

Relevant short courses in Management will also be mounted in due course starting as certificate programmes and then upgrading to diploma and degree programmes. Additionally, certificate programmes in workshop practice, both mechanical and electrical will soon be mounted.

Students will be admitted for the 2020/2021 Academic year.

 

Governance Structure of the UMaT School of Railways and Infrastructure Development

 

The School will be headed by a Dean who will be of Professorial Status. He/she will be assisted by a Programmes Co-ordinator who will be at the level of a Senior Lecturer and seventeen other teaching staff. The Administration will also be headed by a Senior Assistant Registrar. He/she will be assisted by forty-four Senior and Junior Staff. These numbers will increase as and when need arises for example as new programmes are added to the current six BSc programmes.

 

This statement was signed on Thursday, 18th June, 2020 between UMaT and the Ministry of Railways Development represented by Prof J. S. Y. Kuma, Vice Chancellor of UMaT and Hon Joe Ghartey, Minister of Railways Development. The Registrar of UMaT, Mr M. K. Okrah witnessed on behalf of UMaT whilst the Acting Managing Director of the Ghana Railway Company Limited witnessed on behalf of the Ministry of Railways Development.

 

 

Source: Paul Y. A. Yeboah, Head, University Relations Office

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