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GNPC sets up professorial chairs in 4 universities

  • SOURCE: Graphic | qwesa2big
  • The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has set up $1-million professorial chairs for research and development in four universities. The universities are the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in Tarkwa, the University of Ghana, Legon and the University of Cape Coast (UCC).

    Speaking at the 2017 local content conference and exhibition in Takoradi, the GNPC General Manager in charge of Sustainability, Dr Kwame Baah-Nuakoh, said the professorial chairs covered Geosciences, Mining Engineering, Oil and Gas Commerce and Petroleum Engineering.

    He said the initiative was to help deepen educational research in the institutions and build broad-based capacity to ensure sustainable development..Dr Baah-Nuakoh stated further that it was part of the GNPC’s social investment drive.

    School of Petroleum Studies

    He said the company had begun the construction of a School of Petroleum Studies at the UMaT and that an initial ¢2 million had been released for commencement of work.

    In the past, he said, the budgets for capacity building were thinly spread on several disciplines,and on foreign training programmes, which did not help the country much.

    “Currently, the focus is shifting to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, as well as technical skills training at the tertiary level in the country,” he said.

    Driving force

    The GNPC intervention, he explained, would drive “these institutions to conduct relevant research and advisory services to support the development of a sustainable oil and gas industry in the country”.

    On the professorial chair, he said each university would be given $250,000 every year.

    “With the arrangement under the professorial chair, one person will be appointed as a chair who will determine what the money should be used for, with the approval of the GNPC,” he said.

    The main idea, Dr Baah-Nuakoh said, was to ensure that tertiary institutions were up to the task of developing industry-specific training for the people.

    “This issue of sending people abroad for training must stop, and we can only do that when we are sure that institutions have the equipment and the personnel to train them locally,” he said.

    Skills gap

    “One thing we have to appreciate is that there has been a skills gap between us as a country and those who are running the oil and gas sector for several years and so we need to see what we can do to replicate what they have,” he said.

    Dr Baah-Nuakoh said in the 2017/18 academic year, the GNPC awarded scholarships to about 700 students pursuing undergraduate studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Ghanaian universities.

    The move, he said, would provide a pool of ready manpower for both local and foreign companies to recruit from.

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