Government’s interest and commitment to revamping the railway sector seems to have gained some promising participation from various stakeholders, as academic institutions have been wooed to join suit. The latest is the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in Tarkwa, Western region.
At the 5th Annual Alumni of University of Mines and Technology (ALUMaT) Lecture held at UMaT, Tarkwa, Minister for Railway Development Joe Ghartey disclosed that his ministry and UMaT are considering developing academic and training modules to build the expertise that would be required to develop and manage the railway industry. UMaT is the only institution in West Africa to offer scholarly and skill training in the mining sector. The minister was convinced the excellence demonstrated by the university in building the manpower for the mining industry could equally be attained in the railway sector should the partnership materialize.
“I have proposed the Ministry of Railway development, Ghana Railway Company and the University [UMAT] enter into some form of unique cooperation which will see us developing courses in this sector of railway which will lead to the award of certificates and degrees.”
He said the railway sector is intrinsically connected to mining, and as such the revitalization of the railway industry could boost the economic fortunes in both sectors.
“Mining and railway are twins. In a lot of the old mines rail was used to move the minerals. It is the same technology they used underground in a lot of the old mines. And so perhaps the nearest engineering we have to mining engineering is railway engineering”.
Mr Ghartey adds the ministry is ready to avail the railway training school for advanced studies in academia through the partnership with the University of Mines and Technology.
“The Vice Chancellor has assured us it isn’t an impossible task for a programme to be developed in railway engineer. We have a training school and we want to cooperate with you to develop this very important sector”
On his part, the Vice Chancellor Prof J.S. Y Kuma expressed his gratitude to the minister for honoring the university with the privilege to be a key player with the revamping of the railway sector. He says UMaT has since considered approaching the Ghana Railways Development Authority with their plans to develop programmes and course modules in various academic disciplines associated with railways. He said job opportunities would abound with the redevelopment of the railway sector. He argues the university has positioned herself to create the competency and manpower when the railway sector takes shape.
“We are fully behind your ministry [Ministry for Railway Development] to make sure that the needed manpower development for the sector is provided and we will be working together to make sure that UMaT stands tall in the scheme of things”.