The 11th Congregation Ceremony of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) has been held at the University
The 11th Congregation of the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, has been held at an impressive ceremony at the University Auditorium. There were four hundred and ninety-four (494) graduands who received various degrees including nine (5) Doctor of Philosophy Degrees (PhD), twenty-nine (29) Master of Science and Master of Philosophy degrees, four hundred and forty-seven (447) Bachelor of Science degrees in different programmes of study, with 76 of them in the First Class Division.
The Chancellor of the University, His Excellency Former President John Agyekum Kufuor presided over the ceremony, his second, after assuming the high office as Chancellor of the University in January 2018. The Chancellor appealed to Government through the Ministry of Education to expedite action and approve the fees of Public Universities which have delayed for three years running adding that the increase would enable UMaT to continue to provide the quality engineering education that it is noted for. He was not happy that the Government had not prioritised increasing the fees which according to him, was particularly hurting smaller Universities such as UMaT. He stressed that “A differentiation in the implementation of the facility user fees increases in favour of such smaller but economically strategic universities would be productive and welcome”.
The Chancellor also charged the University to continue to strive to aspire to become the MIT of Africa in the near future. The Chancellor appealed to the Board of the Minerals Development Fund to release funds to speed up the construction and completion of the legacy projects on campus which include a four storey faculty block expected to house the numbers of students that would apply to enter UMaT in the 2020/2021 academic year, as a result of the free Senior High School Policy of the Government.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma, presenting his Report to Congregation, thanked Government and other stakeholders for their support for the University and highlighted some achievements of the University during the year under review. He indicated that there was always a large funding gap between what UMaT generated from the collection of fees and what Government supports the University with to deliver on its mandate. He called for increased funding from Government and industry players especially those from the extractive industry to support effective teaching, research and learning in the University.
Prof Kuma also appealed to Government through the Ministry of Education which was represented by the Deputy Minister in charge of TVET, Hon Gifty Twum-Ampofo, to help UMaT address some issues including getting Parliament to approve 2019/2020 fees schedules on time. He called on Government to grant the University clearance to replace staff who have retired, resigned or unfortunately passed on this year adding that since 2018 UMaT has not received clearance to replace our staff. Prof Kuma again expressed the hope that Government will allow Professors who attain 65 years to continue to lecture until age 70 before they would retire because according to him, they have rich experiences which they could continue to offer even after attaining 65 years by supervising postgraduate students, bringing international research funds into the University, international networking all of which help in the ranking of universities, adding that the number of professors in a university alone helped increase the ranking of that university.
The Special Guest of Honour for the occasion, the Deputy Minister in charge of TVET, Hon Gifty Twum-Ampofo, who represented the Minister for Education, in her address observed that UMaT remained very unique because, according to her, “it is on record that this University has earned the reputation as a centre of excellence for the training of quality engineers in mining, petroleum, technology and allied engineering disciplines that are providing quality services to their companies around the world“. She futher said that the Ministry was aware of the concerns raised with respect to the Academic Facility User Fees adding that the delay was due to the new procedure for approving the fees by Parliament. She indicated that Cabinet had approved the proposals which has since been forwarded to Parliament for ratification. On the clerance to replace staff in the Universities, she assured that the Ministry of Finance was working on the backlog with urgency and that soon all other Universities who have not recieved their clearance will recieve theirs before the end of August this year.
The Western Regional Minister, Hon Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah indicated that he was excited to be attending the UMaT Congregation for the first time after assuming office as Regional Minister a few months ago and commended UMaT for the progress and successes it has chalked over the years.
As a way of motivating students to work had, those who excelled received various awards instituted by the University, some organisations and individuals. This year the Vice Chancellor’s overall best graduating student went to Mr Emmanuel Brempong Asiedu with a CWA of 87.93 from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. His award was made up of a certificate, a laptop and a cash prize of GH¢2,000. The Laptop was sponsored by the UMaT Alumni Association. Mr Asiedu also received the Ghana Institution of Engineering Award for the best Engineering student. The Victoria E. Frempong’s award of GH¢1,000 for the best female graduating student went to Miss Lydia Dede Obeng of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and she also received the Eugenia Gifty Kusi’s award of GH¢1,000 for best female graduating student.
Prof Kuma and the other speakers encouraged the graduands to uphold the core values of UMaT which are Knowledge, Truth and Excellence and charged them to be innovative and entrepreneurial in all their endeavours because they were trained by the best University to always get the work done wherever they would find themselves.
Some of the distinguished personalities who were present at the congregation included the Chairman of the University Council, Dr S. S. Yirenkyi, Prof Ndowa Lale, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof Harrison Dapaah, Vice Chancellor of University of Energy and Natural Resources, some members of the University Council, Hon George Mireku Duker, the MP for Tarkwa Nsuaem Constituency, Mr Gilbert Ben Asmah, the Municipal Chief Executive for Tarkwa Nsuem Municipal Assembly, Prof Jonas Addai Mensah from the University of South Australia (UniSA), some Registrars and Finance Officers of some Sister Universities.
Source: Paul Y. A. Yeboah, Head, University Relations Office