The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), School of Railways, and Infrastructure Development situated in Essikado in the Western Region would take off in the 2020/2021 academic year.
All the necessary infrastructure and meetings to remove all bottlenecks to have a smooth take-off of the school have been held.
Vice-Chancellor of UMaT, Professor Jerry Samuel Yaw Kuma, announced this during a stakeholder meeting between UMaT, Ministry of Railways Development, and Chiefs of Western Region to discuss the progress of the school and the way forward.
The meeting was also used to showcase the progress of the railways’ activities, achievements, and challenges in the Region.
The Vice-Chancellor said the school would run programmes such as BSc Mechanical Engineering, BSc Electrical, and Electronic Engineering, BSc Computer Science and Engineering, BSc Geometric Engineering, BSc Geological Engineering and BSc Environmental ànd Safety Engineering.
The school would also offer BSc /Diploma Railways Engineering and other Engineering Programmes in the 2021/2022 academic year.
Prof. Kuma hinted that relevant short courses in management would also be mounted in due course, starting as a certificate Programme and then upgrade to diploma and degree Programmes.
“Additionally, certificate Programmes in workshop practice both Mechanical and Electrical would soon be mounted”
The Vice-Chancellor pointed out that the existence of the school would lead to the direct and indirect increase in the economic fortunes of the community adding “I am happy to say that the school is open to engage some qualified members of the community as staff of the school”.
“As a university with a proud track record as the best publicly funded University in Ghana as far as science and Engineering are concerned, I pledge that the school will be hinged on the same values of knowledge, Truth, and Excellence”
Prof Kuma assured that UMaT would place value on research and innovation which are the main pillars in the training of their students.
“The quality of engineering education we give to our students make them critical thinkers and so we shall be committed to ensure that the students who will be admitted here would put in the energy and passion in their academic work.”
Minister of Railways Development, Joe Ghartey, indicated that with the Ghana Railways Master Plan, the Rail sector was capable of transforming the country to a higher height since apart from the movement of passengers and goods it would also facilitate trade, industrial development as well as stimulate economic growth.
The minister pointed out that the overall objective of the Rail Development was to build a modern railway network from the south to the northern part of Ghana with associated infrastructure to address the imbalance between transport modes for long-distance transit and domestic freight movements.
Mr Ghartey who is also the Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan said in the past three years a solid foundation has been built for the rail sector and that apart from the Techiman to Hamile rail line, the others rail lines have had their feasibilities conducted and in some cases contracts awarded and added that by 2035 all the rail lines in the country would be completed.
Managing Director of Ghana Railways Company Limited, John Essel, lauded the government and the sector Minister for injecting huge capital into the company for it to be self-reliant and efficient in its operations.
He said with the capital injection, GRCL which is struggling with the pay of workers’ salaries would now be able to take care of staff salaries and other related expenses to March 2021.
Mr Essel said the company has also seen massive rehabilitation works at its various workshops, adding that 10 coaches which were to be scraped were rehabilitated in Tema and Sekondi workshops by the GRCL workers.
He announced that GRCL would soon take delivery of track tools, spare parts and equipment which were imported by Ghana Manganese Company Limited to facilitate the rehabilitation of five locomotives and several mineral wagons to augment the current fleet of Manganese trains to increase the haulage of Manganese ore from Nsuta to the Takoradi port for export.
The President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, Ogyhohou Yaw Gyebi II, commended the Government and the Railway Development Minister for helping to turn around the fortunes of GRCL.
He also expressed gratitude to UMaT for opening the school of Railways Infrastructure Development in the Region and suggested that courses such as welding and metal fabrication be included in the courses that would be run in the school.
Ogyhohou Gyebi II appealed to chiefs to support the railway sector to develop further by releasing land and endeavour to desist from the practice of demanding huge compensations from the government for the use of their lands.