Technical Universities will introduce two new programmes-Higher National Diplomas in Water and Sanitation Engineering and in Instrumentation and Automation Engineering for the 2019/2020 academic year.
The programmes are to equip graduates with competencies and the needed skills in the fields to compete and meet industry demands through hands on experience.
The programmes are developed by the National Board for Professional and Technical Examinations (NABPTEX) and the Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre (RWESCK) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.
Professor Sampson Oduro-Kwarteng, Lecturer Civil Engineering Department, KNUST announced this on Thursday at a stakeholders workshop to validate and approve the draft curriculum for the programmes.
Prof Oduro-Kwarteng said the programmes were necessitated due to the recent national study on human resource capacity gaps in 2017 and 2018 by the RWESCK.
It identified technical skills gaps in digital technologies, instrumentation, automation, inadequate water, and sanitation engineering technicians.
He noted that there was an estimated gap of over 1000 environmental sanitation technologist and technician engineers in the Metropolitan, Municipal, District and Assemblies, which affected the delivery of sanitation services in the country.
He said there were inadequate programmes in the country’s tertiary institutions, which provides technical based curriculum for middle-level manpower in water and environmental sanitation.
He noted that there was need for skilled manpower in that field to support the implementation of National Environmental Sanitation Strategy and Action Plans.
Prof Oduro-Kwarteng explained that the programme in Water and Sanitation Engineering would equip graduates with practical technical knowledge in construction, operation and maintenance of water resources, water supply and environmental systems.
Touching on the instrumentation and automation engineering programme, the Professor said the increasing use of innovative digital technologies in the emerging fourth industrial revolution calls for interdisciplinary programmes to address the challenges in the sector.
He posited that the existing training in computer science, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering fields does not adequately provide such interdisciplinary technical skills and competence in instrumentation and automation engineering.
He said the training of technical manpower in the fields of laboratory and industrial instrumentation engineering was needed to equip graduates with practical skills to support industries in the installation, operation and maintenance of emerging innovative digital technologies.
Mr Kwaku Asmah, the Chief Executive Officer of Process and Plant Automation Limited said the initiative would build the capacities of the country’s local human resource to meet the needs of industry players.
He said most of the people contracted in such fields were expatriates, adding that, the programme empower graduates in the fields to be competitive and be contracted to handle issues of water and sanitation and automation.
“We are ready to collaborate with academia to help address the gaps in the fields because we need qualified engineers who are innovative in addressing technical issues,” he added.
Mrs Sheila Naah Boamah, the Acting Executive Director of NAPTEX said the two programmes was first of its kind to be introduced in the country and hoped the course would be sustained for future development.
She called on stakeholders to support the initiative to improve the vocational and technical sector in an effective and efficient manner.