By Mahzouba Maya Faal
The Honorable Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Badara A. Joof, during a recently held Sector Retreat of the Ministry, ardently stated that the country needs field engineers, and not desktop engineers. The Ministry therefore is optimistic that the new University of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (USET) would address such skills gaps which will ultimately curb the high unemployment rate of the nation.
The new USET is currently receiving mentorship from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana in delivering the core engineering curriculum. Also, De Montfort University (DMU) in the United Kingdom is embedding entrepreneurship training as part of the new University’s curriculum.
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is responsible for the recruitment, teaching, examination and certification of the USET.
Classes have already started with about fifty students enrolled in the fields of Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical/Electronic Engineering.
The University is soon to introduce new disciplines including a Bachelor’s degree in Geometrics and Chemical Engineering. De Montfort University has already started the entrepreneurial clinics, the innovation hubs and the disruptive laps. Simultaneously, DMU will deliver lectures in Computer Science, Architecture and Fine Arts. During the four years of studies in the various bachelors of science in engineering programs, students of USET will undergo 12-18 months industrial attachment to enhance their practical skills.
Meanwhile, The Ministry has provided 12 scholarships at PhD levels in KNUST to potential lecturers of USET, likewise, DMU is also training teachers at PhD levels in the area of computer science, as well as Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) in Finland is offering similar trainings. The Ministry’s target is to train at least 50 people, in the next five years at PhD levels, in different engineering disciplines to strengthen human resource capacity of USET to gradually wean from KNUST lectures.
Furthermore, Hon. Minister indicated that the University of Petronas Malaysia, together with their parent company Petronas, are in discussion with MoHERST to set up the Petroleum and Gas Engineering faculty.
He also informed that plans for the construction of three faculties at the new USET campus in Brikama are on the way. The laying of the foundation stone is scheduled for earliest, February.