Cape Coast, Sept. 5, GNA - The University of Cape Coast (UCC) will from next academic year, introduce a four-year degree course in jewellery science to give the jewellery industry, scientific and technological know-how.
The programme, which will be ran by the Faculty of Science's Department of Laboratory Technology, would involve the use of computer aid designs and complement the current elective course in Jewellery run by the college of Arts at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
Reverend Professor Emmanuel Adow Obeng, Vice-Chancellor of UCC, made this known in a speech read for him at a symposium organised by the faculty's Department of Laboratory Technology, under the theme "Precious Minerals in Ghana and Jewellery Production".
It was to sensitise the public about what entails in jewellery making, the handling of precious minerals in Ghana and the use of computers with traditional symbols, for ornamental studies. He said short sandwich courses would also be organised for artisans and tradesmen as well as professionals in the production of ornaments, to help promote the use of traditional patterns in the jewellery industry, to portray the nation's rich culture.
Rev. Prof. Obeng observed that, Ghana has a lot of artisans in the precious mineral industry and was hopeful that they would take advantage of the short courses to improve the quality of their handicraft and expand the industry to increase jewellery production in the country. He was happy that the department was already, in partnership with the college of Arts, KNUST, and the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) to come out with proposals for the introduction of the degree programme.
Mr George Asante, deputy managing director, operations of the PMMC, who spoke on "Adding Value to Raw Gold and Other Minerals in Ghana", said, since Ghana abounds in gold, there was the need for the establishment of a gold refinery to add value to raw gold and other minerals, so as to improve their export potential and enhance the country's foreign exchange earnings.
He explained that with the establishment of a gold refinery, new areas such as the production of commemorative coins, medallions, alloys, wires and nuggets would be produced for the tourism market and the jewellery industry.
Mr Asante said the nation also needs a Lapidary workshop to enhance the manufacturing of decorative items such as tumbled stones, clock faces, pencil holders, slices and bookends, as well as carvings and bead making.
He said apart from gold, silver, diamond and platinum, there are also semi-precious stones such as serpentine, garnets, jaspers and quartz in huge deposits, which need to be exploited and developed. He urged the students to venture into working with semi-precious stones, which are relatively cheaper than gold.
Mr Kofi Asomaning, senior lecturer, department of metal designing at the college of Arts, spoke on "Design and Technology in Jewellery Production-the Ghanaian Situation", and noted that, due to the lack of a gold refinery and poor technology, many people in the jewellery industry still resort to the old methods of designing jewellery.
Mr Asomaning called for the amendment of the outmoded hallmarking and stamping law, which was passed in 1909, and for the establishment of special vocational schools to offer training in goldsmithing and jewellery.
He also suggested that, students in senior secondary schools should be encouraged to combine visual arts subjects with elective science and mathematics to enable them study technology-based programmes like industrial arts.
Prof. Paul Buah-Bassuah, head of the Department said, it was looking forward to opening a new course that "could make use of natural resources, satisfy our economic needs and prepare graduates to acquire skills and knowledge in ornamental studies".
He pointed out that the time has come for the nation to apply scientific technology in adding value to the numerous mineral resources, which economic values are being under rated, because adding value to them has been left to foreigners.