The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) has started a programme in railway engineering and related courses to support the speedy revamping of the country’s rail sector.
The programme, being run at the Essikado campus of the university, is in collaboration with the Ghana Railway Company.
The university observed that the sector, once a vibrant and dominant industry in the country, went down at a certain stage, but was currently going through serious transformation to reposition it, hence, the need to ensure the needed human resource was available for a smooth take-off.
Training rail manpower
Speaking at the maiden matriculation of UMaT’s School of Railways and Infrastructure Development at the Essikado campus, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard Kwasi Amankwah, expressed its readiness to create another centre of excellence in the Twin-City of Sekondi-Takoradi.
UMaT, he said, was determined to grow the Essikado campus and the student population to about 5,000 in few years to come as well as satisfy the demand for highly skilled engineers.
Prof. Amankwah said UMaT was collaborating with AYA Engineering and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) to offer the engineering programmes to build the needed manpower in the railways sector and for associated industries.
The Vice-Chancellor said the rail industry-driven programmes would include locomotive engineering, signalling and telecommunications systems, geotechnical engineering, railways planning and operation, among others.
These programmes, Prof. Amankwah explained, were to equip students and trainees with skills and knowledge required on the job market to ensure a sustained railways transport system in the country.
The university, the vice-chancellor said, was making a conscious effort to ensure growth in female enrolment in all areas.
Out of 4,351 candidates who applied for admission to the undergraduate programmes, 1,062 representing 24 per cent were offered admission. Out of those admitted, 71 per cent were males and 29 per cent females, he said.
He said two hundred and forty-two students were admitted to start various engineering and other programmes at the Essikado campus and added that out of the number, 192 are males and 50 females.
“Our students on Essikado Campus are undergoing a four-year programme in BSc Electrical and Electronic Engineering; BSc Mechanical Engineering; BSc Computer Science and Engineering; BSc Geomatic Engineering; BSc Geological Engineering and BSc Environmental and Safety Engineering.
Introduction to railways
Due to the relevance of the railways sector in nation-building, Prof. Amankwah said all students would undertake a course in introduction to railways engineering to help them appreciate the prospects of the sector.
In order to engage the larger population, he said the university intended to introduce MSc and certificate in Engineering and business-related programmes.
Prof. Amankwah called on the state and industries to partner UMaT to achieve the goal of providing and developing the relevant human capital towards nation-building.
On COVID-19 protocols, Prof. Amankwah said just as all sectors had made adjustments to lessen the impact of the virus, leaders of the university had also taken appropriate measures to ensure the continuity of academic work.
He said the major mode of teaching and learning since the outbreak had been on virtual platforms to reduce physical contact and limit the in-person instructional methods.
When deemed necessary in critical areas where required, Prof. Amankwah said face-to-face interactions were held to help students to firmly grasp some concepts.