The University of Mines and Technology, UMaT at Tarkwa in the Western Region has acknowledged the invaluable role played by Mr Joe Ghartey, the immediate past Minister of Railways and Development towards the establishment of the UMaT School of Railways and Infrastructure Development, SRID at Ketan.
Professor Richard Kwesi Amankwah, the Vice Chancellor of UMat recalled that, the idea for the SRID was mooted by Mr Ghartey when he delivered the UMaT Alumni lecture in October 2018 on the theme, “Ghana’s Railway Infrastructure Development: Challenges and Opportunities for the Minerals Industry in Ghana”.
A Memorandum of Understanding was subsequently signed on May 15, 2018 following various stakeholder engagement after which the then Railway Training School was released to UMaT to serve as a satellite campus for the SRID.
The School currently runs Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Geomatic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Geological Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Environment and Safety Engineering.
Other stakeholders such as Nana Kobina Nketsia V, the Omanhene of Essikado traditional area and Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Western Regional Minister among others played various roles.
Mr Ghartey who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Essikado-Ketan stood out, as he in the first place, saw to the rehabilitation of the the Railways Training School which was rundown and seemingly abandoned and had become a safe haven for rodents and reptiles.
The matriculation at the Essikado Campus of the UMat School of Railways and Infrastructure Development had 242 freshmen comprising 50 females and 192 males as the first batch of students for the School of Railways and Infrastructure Development.
They will help build the capacity of staff of the Ghana Railway Company and the Ministry of Railways Development.
The Vice Chancellor said, “all students will undertake a course in introduction to Railways Engineering as part of the courses in their programmes to help them appreciate the relevance of the railways sector to national development.
“To help develop the capacity of engineers in the railways sector, UMaT, in collaboration with the Railways Company Limited, AYA Engineering and GIZ will run the following railways related certificate programmes: Locomotive Engineering, Signalling and Telecommunications Systems, Geotechnical Engineering, Railways Planning and Operations“ Professor Richard Amankwah disclosed.
He said, “the aim of this school is to help complement efforts of the Ministry of Railways Development and the Ghana Railways Company Limited in the development of manpower for the railways sector allied industries and also ensure sustainable development of the railways sector”.
He reminded the matriculants of the need to always be guided by knowledge, truth excellence to enable them achieve their academic aim and career objectives.
The UMaT Vice Chancellor further appealed to government for support towards the provision of Infrastructure for the school.
According to Professor Amankwah, the medium to long term goal of the SRID is to grow it into a College of Railways and Infrastructure Development with about two or more schools with a student population of five thousand.
This he said, will go a long way to develop relevant manpower for national development.