The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) Tarkwa, has appointed former President, John Agyekum Kufour, as the first Chancellor of the institution.
The installation ceremony which took place at the UMaT campus on Friday was to confer authority on the new Chancellor and welcome him officially to the University system.
Hundreds of people including representatives of government, organizations, traditional authorities, members of the university staff across the country, students and the general public attended the special event.
The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led former President Kufour through the swearing of oath of office.
Speaking at the ceremony, Nana Akufo-Addo commended the university’s council for recognising the immense contributions of the former President made during his term in office for UMaT and mother Ghana.
The President said with the nine uncompleted Mineral Development Fund (MDF) projects on UMaT’s campus, Mr. John Peter Amewu, minister of Lands and Natural Resource has assured him that through the MDF all the deficit projects would be completed soon to commemorate the event.
President Akufo-Addo said he had been informed that 26 kilometers square of land had been donated to the university by the chief and people of Wassa Fiase Traditional Area and that designs for the construction of the 20,000 student capacity complex had been completed awaiting funds for the commencement of the project .
The President noted that the government would give an annual special budgetary allocation of 5 million Cedis to the University for projects.
He said there were few countries in the world with Universities dedicated to mining and allied industries and added that UMaT would provide higher education in mining technology and related science and also acted as a catalyst in the development of mining and technology.
He pointed out that ministry of Lands and Natural Resource and the university in its contribution to the fight against illegal mining had trained 400 small scale miners with additional 1,000 more set to be trained this year on sustainable mining practices.
According to the President, “The Ministry of Railway Development and UMaT wanting to revive the railway training school is a step in the very right direction considering government’s determination to revamp the railway sector”.
President Akufo-Addo said his government would rehabilitate and equip existing laboratories as well as the construction of new buildings that were currently on-going to enable the university deliver effectively on its mandate of teaching, research and community service.
Delivering his address, former President Kufour said in the current world, the future belonged to the economies that take technology and innovation seriously, and made the conscious effort to train their manpower in these competencies.
He said science, technology, engineering and mathematics education should be the cornerstone of the educational curricula of any serious nation that seek to develop industrially.
The former President said the university chosen to be committed singularly to this all important academic endeavor, with accompanying practical experience, was worthy of commendation and support from government.
He said “I envisage a future where this university will fast become the centre of the industry-driven transformational economic takeoff that you have resolved and declared as the cornerstone of your government’s development policies”.
“Your Excellency, Mr. President, l know that the exploitation of the country’s bauxite resources is dear to your heart, and you envision an integrated aluminium and bauxite industry as well as other metallurgical industries in the not too distant future,” he said.
He pledged to work with the government to provide technologies and the requisite trained manpower to realise their noble vision under his chancellorship and appealed to Ghanaians to support UMaT to become a true centre of excellence in mining and technology.
Professor Jerry Kuma, Vice Chancellor indicated that if UMaT is given the necessary support to expand its infrastructure, laboratory equipment and staff development, the university would do more in the area of research and bring out more inventions to benefit Ghanaians.
In addition, he said UMaT would also be in a better position to absorb more of the students who would gain admission as a result of the free Senior High School programme.