By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
The Military Academy Training Schools (MATS) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), in conjunction with the Accra Technical University (ATU), has graduated One Hundred and Sixty (160) Officers, Men and Women, who were students of the School of Ordnance, for the 2019/2020 training/academic year.
The graduation, which is the second of its kind, since MATS entered into affinity, via the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the university, in August, 2018, took place at the saintly Burma Hall, on Thursday, 26th November, 2020, under the theme “Building Opportunities for Life After Military Service”, with the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) – Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Obed Boamah Akwa, as the Guest of Honour.
General Akwa, in his address to the audience, stated that the Military High Command had taken notice of the infrastructural deficiencies of the military academy, and that soon, the school will be relocated from its present location, to a new one, which would be more conducive for learning, with standard facilities.
The CDS also granted a request made by the Commandant of MATS – Major General (Maj Gen) Charles Kodjo Awity, in his welcome address, that the institution’s present facilities be rehabilitated, with the former stating that the best shall also be done to address all immediate challenges of the academy, as soon as possible.
General Awity stated that, the School of Ordnance’s curriculum comprises two (2) components, namely: Traditional Military Courses (students were taken through the rudiments of military studies, which led to the award of certificates of participation) and Civil Academic Programmes, where the contents were recognised or seen as relevant in the non-military environment.
The identification of this disconnect – where soldiers retired with many military certificates, but could not secure meaningful employment, because their certificates were not recognised in the non-military setting – paved the way for the introduction of additional courses at MATS, as the School of Ordnance, particularly, aligned its courses with relevant programmes that would be useful for life after the military, hence the affiliation to ATU, Maj Gen Awity stated.
The MATS Commandant also stated that the School runs three (3) main programmes from two (2) different faculties: Procurement and Supply Chain Management from the Faculty of Business and Fashion Design and Leather Works programmes from the Faculty of Applied Arts.
The Vice Chancellor of ATU – Professor Samuel Nii Odai, urged the remainder of the 12 schools under MATS, to dialogue with their corresponding departments at ATU, for more of them to be present at graduations, in the near future.
The Guest Speaker at the graduation, Maj Gen William Omane-Agyekum (Rtd), who is the immediate past Commandant of MATS, under whose leadership, the affiliation initialized, spent more effort at encouraging military persons, to pay more attention to issues of life after military service.
“One day, we shall all retire and face life after military Service. Retirement is like pregnancy – it cannot be hidden. No matter how much you hide by running away from it, one day, retirement will show up at your door steps. No one can escape it unless you are privileged enough to die in Service. However, due to a number of things we see some retired personnel go through, retirement has become something scary”, Maj Gen Omane-Agyekum said.
General Omane-Agyekum commended the military for creating opportunities for its personnel to enhance and develop their capacities, and establish solid foundations, which become useful, not only for the military service, but also for life outside the confines of the military.
27 Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) from Bachelor of Technology in Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, 20 Officers and NCOs from Advanced Diploma in Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, 62 from Diploma in Purchasing & Supply Chain Management, 23 from Diploma in Fashion Design and 28 from Diploma in Leather Work, graduated.
The graduating courses commenced on Monday 10th July 2019, with a total of 27 all ranks, including one Civilian Employee (CE), enrolling in the Bachelor of Technology programme, and were later joined by 132 students for the Diploma and Advanced Diploma programmes, while 157 other students, who pursued certificate programmes, are slated to pursue studies for the Diploma and Bachelor of Technology Degree, later.
Statistics of the performance of the Students of the various programmes are as follows: Department of Procurement & Supply Chain Management – Bachelor of Technology, 1st Class – 10, 2nd Class Upper 17. Advanced Diploma, 1st Class – 3, 2nd Class Upper – 16, Diploma, 1st Class – 16, 2nd Class Upper – 46.
Department of Fashion Design and Textiles – Diploma in Fashion Design, 1st Class – 9, 2nd Class Upper – 14, Diploma in Leather Works, 1st Class – 5, 2nd Class Upper – 23.
Schools under MATS are; Engineer Training, Signal Training, Ordnance, Electrical and Mechanical Transport Training, Armed Forces Music, Education, Clerks Training, Physical Training, Armed Forces Mechanical Transport, Armed Forces Fire and Catering Training Schools.
The Overall Best Graduate Award, went to Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Prince Opoku-Agyemang, whiles the Overall Best Female Graduate Award was won by Miss Babilah.
Dignitaries present at the graduation event included the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) – Rear Admiral (R/Adm) Seth Amoama, Chief of Defence Intelligence – Maj Gen Nicholas Peter Andoh, Commanding Officer (CO), School of Ordnance – Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Amoako (himself, a graduate of the day) and Deans, Directors, Heads of Departments of ATU.