Following the announcement of a partnership between the University of Maryland and Ghana’s Ministry of Education, this university’s president’s office announced that teachers in Ghana were trained as part of a new engineering program.
President Darryll Pines said he ran into Ghana’s Minister of Education Yaw Osei Adutwum and discussed establishing student exchange and collaborative research programs. Adutwum wanted to institute a new engineering curriculum at 12 high schools, according to Pines.
The pair established a plan to have some of this university’s professors train Ghanaian instructors to teach the curriculum to students attending these STEM schools this fall. They signed a memorandum of understanding certifying the agreement.
The president’s office and the aerospace engineering department will be involved in the implementation of this program, according to a statement from this university’s communications office.
The aerospace engineering department houses the Engineering For Us All program, also known as e4usa, which provides engineering education for pre-college students. Pines serves as the principal investigator for the program.
“That fits right into what we were doing,” Pines said. “And they didn’t have a course in engineering. So we fit right into providing them a course in engineering.”
Pines said he also sought to create connections with three universities in Ghana — the University of Ghana, the University of Cape Coast and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology — to create pathways for student exchange programs and collaborative research.
Dr. Nii Attoh-Okine, who chairs this university’s civil and environmental engineering department, celebrated the development, saying it could improve international relations with students serving as ambassadors.
The program opens a window for exchanges between this university’s students and students in Ghana, Attoh-Okine said.
“They are very talented kids who are studying in [Ghana], but they need more opportunities,” Attoh-Okine said.
Ghana produces many engineering specialists, and he hopes that the program can create a “cascade effect” attracting even more talent to the region.
He envisions a physical research center in Ghana where people can openly access information for their research and form interdisciplinary connections. The spread of knowledge from this location could quickly advance the spread of knowledge in the region, Attoh-Okine added.
Engineering students also spoke in support of the program, particularly the potential for a study abroad program.
Junior civil engineering major Sandra Alhwamdeh said learning engineering in a new environment would help students expand their horizons.
“Learning new things about new cultures, having fun outside of school, not just studying but also like having fun in traveling,” Alhwamdeh said. “Seeing what the world needs … helps engineers get more open minded.”
She said she would be open to studying abroad in Ghana.
Freshman mechanical engineering major Michelle Reynoso said studying abroad could be a great way to gain new perspectives.
“When you engineer things with people in mind, you have to take into consideration how people behave in those places and what values they hold,” Reynoso said.
Senior staff writer Hannah Ziegler contributed to this story.