Combine theory with creativity to turn waste into resources-UMaT VC challenges students

Postgraduate students   need to combine theory, creativity and innovations to transform waste materials into potentials resources for the growth of the industry and society, says Prof. Richard Kwasi Amankwah, Vice Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) Tarkwa,

He encouraged students to be problem solvers, saying “there is money in waste.”

“Postgraduate education is about solving problems, knowledge creation and so they should look for tangible problems, for example, waste materials in the countryside and solve them.

“We have 148 new postgraduate students this year, and if each generates one innovation then it means we have 148 problems solved in the industry, the market and for the betterment of our communities.” Prof. Amankwah stressed.

He was speaking with the Ghanaian Times on Saturday after he administered the matriculation oath to new students of the School of Postgraduate Studies at UMaT, on Saturday.

He continued: “Postgraduate education   aims at advancing the frontiers of knowledge. In the mining and petroleum industry, today, we need innovations in automation, which we call the mind of the future whereby robotics will be deployed to the underground mine especially where it is  not safe for  human beings. I am looking at situations where people can concentrate more on automation, more machine learning and artificial intelligence and solve problems in the system.”

Focusing on waste materials, Prof. Amankwah said in 2020, lecturers gathered waste polythene bags to produce diesel   fuel which was useful for an ‘Aboboyaa’ truck, adding that, laboratory tests proved that the quality of the innovation matched products at the filling station.

Another expert, according to the Vice Chancellor, also combined liquids from polythene bags and sand   to produce cement blocks which could be used for making pavements.

“Clearly, we need to find out through creativity, knowledge creation and innovations, what we can do with the material waste and convert them into useful products. We will introduce waste and resources engineering next year, so that we see how we can convert waste into good liquids. What the students need to do is to focus all their minds and bring what they can do during their studies.

“There’s money (wealth) in waste engineering and we’re desirous to challenge our students to explore ideas through innovations so that we can build the industry, improve the workplace and promote growth for our country and people. That’s my challenge to postgraduate students,” Prof. Amankwah said.

UMaT, he said, prided itself with good products in mining, petroleum and allied scholarship and believed that the new students would live by that ideal.

He advised the students to use the virtual learning platforms (Zoom) during lectures profitably, adding that attention in lectures was key to effective teaching and learning.


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