In response to calls by government and stakeholders to promote Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (STEM) in Ghana, the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences (CANS) of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) is introducing new engineering programmes.
The new programmes would be offered by the proposed School of Sustainable Engineering (SSE) to be established under CANS.
In line with UCC’s drive towards entrepreneurship, the School of Sustainable Engineering aims at championing business-led technical training to build the capacity of graduates for self-employment in specific engineering enterprises.
Also, the School would contribute technical contents to support UCC’s College of Education Studies to run programmes targeting teachers in second cycle and technical institutes in Ghana. Eventually, engineering educators would be equipped with both technical and pedagogical skills required for teaching technical subjects in the schools.
As part of preparations to launch the proposed School of Sustainable Engineering, a two-day stakeholder engagement workshop was held in Accra for key players in the industry to share best practices and to review the draft curricular of the engineering programmes.
The new engineering programmes for undergraduate students are: Bachelor of Science (Water and Public Health Engineering), Bachelor of Science (Agriculture Engineering), Bachelor of Science (Robotics and Intelligent Systems), Bachelor of Science (Mechanical Engineering Education), Bachelor of Science (Electrical and Electronics Engineering Education) and Bachelor of Science (Wood Technology Education). The postgraduate programmes are: Master of Philosophy (Coastal Engineering) and Doctor of Philosophy (Coastal Engineering)
Opening the workshop, the Chairman of SSE Committee, Prof. Samuel Yeboah Mensah, noted that UCC conveyed the stakeholder engagement so they would provide valuable contributions to enrich the content of the seven new programmes to reflect best practice in the engineering industry. He indicated that Ghana was not producing enough engineers to support the country’s development, hence, UCC was stepping in to fill that gap by training highly competent graduates.
Prof. Mensah, who is also the founding Provost of CANS, appealed to stakeholders to examine the contents of the draft curricula and make the necessary recommendations to make the programmes responsive to contemporary demands and existing gaps in the country.
Making a presentation on the rationale for the establishment of SSE, Prof. Robert Sarpong Amoah, from the Department of Agriculture Engineering of UCC, explained that in line with the global Sustainable Development Goals, the programmes and activities of the proposed School would be tailored towards the principle of sustainability. “This entails engineering designs that foster positive social and economic development while minimizing environmental impact” he elaborated.
He noted it had become necessary to establish SSE because a number of departments in the University were running engineering biased programmes, but students faced identity crises when they graduate. “Students are torn between whether they are engineers or scientists making it difficult for them to be recognised by professional bodies,” he pointed out. In addition, he indicated that the programmes were geared towards contributing to government’s industrialisation agenda by producing engineers for national development.
In terms of job placement, Prof. Amoah stated that given the limited number of industries in the country, the SSE had adopted competency-based curriculum training to provide sufficient skills to students for self-employment so they do not rely solely on chasing jobs after graduation.
Prof. Amoah stressed that: “We are producing engineers who are not only experts in their fields alone but can also integrate their expertise with business management skills to employ themselves and help develop the industrial sector”.
On behalf of the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GHIE), Ing. Joseph Kwesi Oddei, commended UCC for coming up with innovative engineering programmes and also taking steps to bring on board stakeholders to make input into the curricula. He noted that as an institution responsible for regulating engineering in Ghana, GHIE would support UCC to achieve its objective of producing top notch engineers for nation building.
Ing. Oddei said engineers had a clear mandate about their roles to help communities live more sustainably. Making reference to the SDGs, he stated that engineering skills would be demanded in the areas of “clean water and sanitation (Goal 6), affordable and clean energy (Goal 7), affordable, industry, innovation, and infrastructure (Goal 9) and sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11). He added that “Goals 4 and 12 which refer to quality education and responsible consumption will rely on engineering skills”.
The President of Institution of Engineers and Technology (IET), Ing. Henry Kwadwo Boateng, in a fraternal message, said the promulgation of the Engineering Council Act (Act 819) and the passing of (LI 2410) in 2020 had provided a platform to ensure that engineering and technology activities were carried out to conform with national and global standards.
Ing. Boateng gave assurance that IET would partner UCC to successfully roll out the new engineering programmes and also provide technical expertise, as well as creating opportunities for graduates of SSE.
The SSE curriculum team together with the stakeholders discussed and reviewed the draft curriculum for the various programmes during the breakout sessions.
Some of the stakeholders praised UCC for reaching out to industry players and also placing premium on sustainable engineering.
Source: Documentation and Information Section-UCC