A ground-breaking ceremony has been held ahead of the construction of an ultra-modern, multi-purpose facility to support teaching and research at the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa. The project, which is estimated at a cost of One Million, Two Hundred and Ten Thousand Dollars (US $1,210,000) is sponsored by the Tertiary Education Fund (TEF) of the Ghana Chamber of Mines. The Fund, which was set up in 2019, is expected to yield an annual amount of $440,000 to support teaching and learning including provision of scholarships, bursaries, research support, internships and resources to facilitate teaching including the acquisition of a Smart Classroom. The facility will house the Mining and Minerals Engineering Department of the University and is expected to be completed within two years.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, stated that “UMaT is an essential institution in the training and moulding of the requisite human capital for the mining industry and other relevant sectors of Ghana’s economy and it is therefore important that they continue to receive the requisite support of government, industry, and donors.”
According to Mr. Koney, “the University’s contribution to the training of professionals and conducting research in the minerals sector means that it continues to attract more and more young people who see its engineering and other unique programmes as springboards for career paths worth charting. While this is a positive development, the University’s facilities have been stretched to its limits in tandem; especially as UMaT desires to increase its intake without compromising its acclaimed quality.”
“On behalf of member companies of the Chamber, whose benevolence has made it possible for the realisation of the TEF, I wish to assure you that the Chamber will continue to deepen its relationship and partnership with the University. We are confident that the Chamber’s TEF will become the yardstick for similar Funds across universities in Ghana and the sub-region,” he added.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Richard Kwasi Amankwah, applauded the efforts of the membership of the Chamber to set up the TEF. He indicated that the University has started seeing the benefits of the TEF and is looking forward to the completion of the main infrastructure projects to boost teaching and learning. He promised to offer the contractors the needed support to ensure a successful completion of the project.
The Chief Director of the Western Regional Coordinating Council, Mr. Frederick Agyemang, represented the Regional Minister at the event. The facility will be constructed by a wholly owned Ghanaian company, Wilhelm Limited, which is renowned for its high-quality performance and output. This is a sure way to retain value in the country, particularly within the local economy of Tarkwa.
Other supports to UMaT
In a related event the Governing Board of the TEF has presented scholarships to thirty (30) undergraduate students pursuing courses in mining engineering, electrical engineering, metallurgy engineering, geology, among others. The total amount of scholarship presented to the thirty students is One Hundred and Thirty-Three Thousand Two Hundred and Ninety-Eight Ghana Cedis (GHS133,298). This batch of beneficiaries is the first in many as the Chamber, through the vehicle of the TEF, strives to create an enabling environment for teaching and learning to thrive at the University of Mines and Technology.
The Chairman of the TEF’s Governing Board, Mr Stephen Ndede, stated that the Fund is poised to support the transformation of an institution that has served as the reliable backbone and pipeline for mining professionals in Ghana and globally. He averred that in addition to the scholarships: “fourteen (14) faculty members of the University have successfully completed secondment with mining firms of the Chamber. I am pleased to inform you that the procurement of a software and hardware to support virtual teaching and learning has also been completed. The software called “SMART Classroom” will allow the university to offer virtual classes for students, especially workers who do not have the flexibility of studying on campus.”
One key aspect of the TEF’s mandate is to support faculty members and post-graduate students to undertake research works pertinent to the mining industry. Processes are underway to ensure effective implementation of this programme. It is our expectation that the studies produced will be the basis for innovation and technological advancement in Ghana’s mining industry.
Finally, second and third year students who have received the scholarship today will also have the opportunity to be part of the “Industry Training Programme”, which will provide undergraduate students with specific and guided industry training. It is expected that, the mining industry will be the ultimate beneficiary of the skills and expertise of these young minds who will be ready to be absorbed into seamlessly.