The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma, has announced that the university is working hard to mount a number of demand-driven undergraduate programmes in the coming years.
Speaking at the university’s 14th Matriculation Ceremony, Prof. Kuma said those programmes would include civil engineering, financial mathematics, data and actuarial science and aerospace engineering.
Others would be petroleum geosciences and engineering, natural gas engineering, petroleum refining and petrochemical engineering, technical communication, land administration and information systems, spatial planning and robotics engineering.
The programmes, he said, would definably enrich the high skill human resource for national development beyond the country and Africa, as UMaT aspired to become a centre of excellence in mining, petroleum and other engineering disciplines in Africa as it continued to receive requests for admission from international students.
He said with the overwhelming interest in the university, it would have certainly admitted more students if its academic facilities, financial and human resources were adequate.
Turning away qualified students
“As parents ourselves, nothing could be more painful than turning away qualified young men and women with good grades who could have gained admission to this great university,” he said.
Prof. Kuma said in order to meet the demands, UMaT was in discussions with the government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, to find a solution to the infrastructural challenges of the university.
“It is important to also note that as a university, we are making the necessary preparations to take on more students who will seek admission to our university as a result of the free SHS policy of the government in the coming years,” he said.
The vice-chancellor said this year, UMaT received 2,292 applications for undergraduate admission to its programmes, made up of 2,220 Ghanaian nationals and 72 international applicants.
“However, the university was only able to admit 597 students, representing 26 per cent of the total applicants. Out of that, 457, representing 77 per cent, were males, while 140, representing 23 per cent, were females.”
Female enrolment & small-scale mining
Female enrolment, he said, still remained one of the main focuses of the university, saying “we are working seriously to encourage more women to study engineering through several initiatives. This we have done over the years through our gender mainstreaming policy”.
“We are not going to rest until our vision of increasing the percentage of women studying engineering in our university to 50 per cent is achieved,” he said.
The university, he said, had also admitted eight students who would form the first batch of the certificate course in Small-Scale Mine and Quarry Administration.
The move, he explained, was a way of providing those operating within that space the needed skills to better manage their concessions and also employ the best methods to mine, without causing challenges to the environment.
The matriculation was preceded by the sixth annual ALUMaT Lecture on the theme: “Investing in Engineering, Research and Education in UMaT: A Road map for Multiplying Ghana's Mineral Wealth”.
On the lecture, Prof. Kuma said the country was endowed with many of the mineral resources required for innovation, technology and sustainable economic development.
“These include gold, bauxite, manganese, diamond, oil and gas, solar energy and many others.
There is no doubt that the mineral industry has and will continue to be one of the major engines of Ghana’s economic growth,” he said.
Dr Winfred Assibey-Bonsu, Group Geostatistician of Evaluator in charge of Gold Fields Corporate Technical Services, in his presentation, took the participants through current trends in the mining industry, challenges, the importance of minerals to the economy, among others.
The university started as the Tarkwa Technical Institute in 1952 and was officially inaugurated in October 1953 by Sir Charles Arden Noble Clarke, the governor of the then Gold Coast.
In 1960, it changed through the initiative of the Ghana Chamber of Mines to become the Tarkwa School of Mines, and in 1976, it was affiliated to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) as a faculty of that university and given the name KNUST School of Mines.
In 2001, it was reorganised to become the Western University College, and on November 12, 2004, Act 677 of Parliament established it as the fully fledged University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, empowered by law to award its own certificates, diplomas and degrees.