Finally, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Ministry of Railway Development and the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) Tarkwa for the establishment of a Railway University in Essikado, of the Western Region.
A ceremony was held today, at the old railway school in Essikado to concretise agreement for the commencement of technical and educational training in various disciplines for the railway sector. Currently, renovation and construction of lecture rooms, technical laboratories and other infrastructure is on-going and nearing completion.
Minister for Railway Development, Joe Ghartey in his remarks prior to the signing of the MoU, stated, it is a critical consideration to build the requisite manpower for the rejuvenated railway sector. He explains the exercise taken is to advance an assurance for the establishment of a fully fledged railway university that would award diploma and degree certificates.
“At the investiture of the Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology [former president H.E John Agyekum Kuffour], on January 12, 2018, the President H.E Nana Akuffo Addo announced among other things, that there would be a collaboration between the university and the Ghana Railway Sector. The event you are seeing today is another step in announcement that was made by the President. It is my hope that this step we’ve taken will eventually lead to the establishment of a fully fledged university for railway development and infrastructure development. We need to make our sector, a sector of excellence. Not just in Ghana, not in West Africa but also in Africa”, he convincingly stated.
The Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Prof Jerry Samuel Yaw Kuma in an interview with Skyy News expressed satisfaction with government preparedness to institute an academic body to train young Ghanaians for the railway sector. Prof Kuma believes the establishment of the university will build the needed manpower locally, so the sector may not need to hire expertise from abroad.
He said “a lot of people want to go to school and it is important we send the schools to where they are needed. The railway development authority needs properly trained people to be able to build the railway infrastructure and to maintain it. So if we train them properly, what we are doing is that, jobs will stay in this country. We wont bring people from outside to come and do certain things for us. We will employ our own. And so employment wise, what we are doing today is to help Ghanaians to be empowered to be able to work either as workers of the railways or those who will set up economic activities along the railway lines to be able to make ends meet for their families”
About 200 workers of the Ghana Railways Company limited are due for retirement. Currently, the staff strength stands at 1,200, a situation the Minister for Railways Development Joe Ghartey believes, threatens the future of the sector.