Soften your stance on KNUST council reconstitution – Students tell gov’t

[L-R] Sir Prof. Emeritus Kwame Sarpong, Chairman of the dissolved Council; Kelvin Sah, the SRC president and Prof. Kwasi Obiri-Danso, Vice-Chancellor of KNUST
Some students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) have asked the government to soften its stance on the reconstitution of the University’s Governing Council, which appears to have stalled due to disagreement over who should not be part of the council.

A November 2 deadline was set for the new council to be constituted but due to government’s disagreement with various stakeholder groups with representation on the KNUST council, that could not be met.

Government is insisting that no old member of the dissolved KNUST governing council is maintained on the new one being constituted because they are “a party to the impasse” between the university and the student body that led to violent protest and closure of the school.

According to the government, it reached an agreement with the various groups to nominate new persons to the new council, however, the groups say the government cannot dictate to them on the issue.

They have insisted on maintaining the old members on the dissolved council on the new one being put together by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

But under the banner of “School Must Reopen Now Movement”, the students say the government’s position is unfair and an impediment to effective academic work.

Leader of the Movement, Samuel Amoako Kusi, told 3News Tuesday that though the students appreciate the various measures taken by the government to resolve the crisis, students can no longer afford to stay at home having already wasted 16 days.

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“The current problem that will lead to the longation of the impasse is government’s decision that the various reps on council, like UTAG, TWEU, SRC, GRASAG, should change their reps on council. We think that decision has led to TEWU and UTAG going on an indefinite strike. What this means is that even if school reopens on Thursday, there will be no lectures because lecturers are on strike,” Mr. Kusi told our correspondent.

Mr. Kusi who is the immediate past president of the KNUST SRC said the government should back down on its stance especially so when majority of the old council members have been changed.

“We believe that since government has been able to change all its 4 reps, changed the chairman, NCTE has changed its rep, CHASS has changed its rep, government should allow these unions to have their autonomy to decide on who will represent them because majority of the members have already been changed by government and these quasi government organisations.

In his view, the more government sticks to this posture, the longer students are going to stay at home, a situation he said they are seeking to avoid, saying “We can’t keep staying at home we want to come to school and study”.

Though he said they had hope that the university will open on Thursday for academic work to begin, that has been dimmed by the recent happening.

“As it stands now if this thing goes on, that means students will still be home for more than 21 days and that could lead to something serious,” Mr. Kusi indicated.

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“So we are saying that government should at least, since its made enough efforts and has changed most of the members on the council, should respect these organisations and let them have their representation because clearly, majority of the members have already been changed,” Mr. Kusi advised.

Background

Disagreement between the student body and management of the university culminated into a violent protest last Monday leading to destruction of property by the agitating students who have accused the university management of arbitrariness and disregard for their rights.

The violent event, which started from last Friday, forced the Ashanti Regional Security Council to close down the university on Monday.

Government on Thursday, October 25 dissolved the government council of the university based on the recommendation of its fact-finding delegation led by the Education Minister, which held discussions with the feuding party on October 23.

An interim governing council chaired by the Paramount Chief of Bompata Traditional Area, Nana Effa Apenteng has been put in place to run the university for the next three months.

As part of its mandate, is to ensure the university reopens within 14 days for academic work to resume.

But the constitution of the interim council triggered declaration of strike by the University Teachers Association of Ghana and the KNUST administrators among other stakeholders.

By 3news.com|Ghana