The Ghana School of Railways and Infrastructure Development, a subsidiary of University of Mines and Technology, has finally commenced operations.
The school was established to among other things provide quality and practical training in rail transport and logistics; be responsive to a vibrant market environment through research & technology; and to adapt to the changing world economy with innovative and creative mindset to ensure the business of rail survives. It also seeks to become a world class railway institution dedicated to professional excellence in rail transport management.
The first batch of students reported to the school on January 15, 2021, and are currently undergoing orientation.
According to management of the university, the school is targeting to admit some 300 students in its first year and would expand to take in about 5,000 students over the next four years. The school is currently offering only engineering programmes with the duration for each being four years.
The construction of the school started in 2017 under the auspices of the Ministry of Railways Development, spearheaded by the sector minister, Joe Ghartey, with the target of developing human resource capacity in the railway sector to boost delivery.
It would be recalled that Mr. Ghartey signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa to develop the Railways Training School into an accredited institution of higher learning for the award of certificates and diplomas.
Aside from providing opportunity for interested students to learn and earn a profession for a better future, the school is expected to be create employment in Tarkwa boost businesses operating around the school as well as residents renting their properties to students who have moved to the area to pursue courses in railway development.
With the commencement of operations, it is expected that after some few years to come, the country will have its own railway engineering professionals who would develop modern, standard gauge railway tracks across Ghana.
Railway training in Ghana
The whole idea of establishing a railway institute for Ghana dates back to 1945 when the Ghana Armed Forces handed over its barracks in Takoradi to the then Ghana Railways and Ports Authority for use by the Railway Central Training Institute for the training of its staff.
The construction of the Railway Central Training Institute in Sekondi began in 1984 and was funded with a World Bank loan. The project was initially started by Messrs Commazzi Contractors Limited, but was later completed by the State Construction Corporation and Frednaro Construction Limited with Architectural and Engineering Services Corporation as the Constituency firm.
The Central Training Institute was set up to among other things, provide training in such disciplines as signal and telecommunication engineering, permanent way, mechanical and electrical engineering and traffic.