Govt includes UTAG, TEWU on KNUST interim council

 

Government has reconstituted the seven-member interim governing council for Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) following the declaration of strike by lecturers at the university.

On the back of the dissolution of the university’s council, the KNUST branch of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) last declared an indefinite strike.

It, among other issues, premised its decision on the fact that the government “totally ignored” them in the composition of the interim committee chaired by Nana Effa Apenteng

“They didn’t even bother. They totally ignored us,” UTAG President at KNUST Professor Eric Fokuo told journalists on Friday after a meeting of its members.

He wondered how students could be included on the committee when they were the same people complaining and having perpetrated the “mess” on campus.

But in the wake of a seeming deepening crisis, the government has taken steps to prevent the lecturers and other stakeholders from carrying out the threats of strike.

It consequently reviewed the membership of the interim council to include a representative each from UTAG and the Teachers and Education Workers Union (TEWU) on the seven member interim council.

This brings the membership of the interim council to nine.

“The decision is to ensure that stakeholders and interest groups are well represented on the council during its three-month tenure…” a statement from the Ministry of Education dated October 26, said.

It consequently asked the council to work with all stakeholders to achieve its goals.

But even before the interim governing council commences its work to restore peace to the closed down university, it has to deal a credibility crisis facing it.

Without the support of UTAG, TEWU and lately the Student Representative Council (SRC), it remains to be seen how the seven or nine-member council will show up for its today, Monday, October 29, 2018 meeting.

The number of the committee, which still remains an issue, was seven until government created two new seats for disgruntled UTAG and TEWU.

 

But the two fuming bodies are yet to take up the offer and name their representatives after they found their exclusion disrespectful and the inclusion of student leaders too empowering for the young adults.

“You put an SRC president who is a student for God’s sake to be on the council,” UTAG reacted angrily last Thursday.

Government said it formed the ad hoc body with a four-month mandate because of a breakdown of trust between the student body and university authorities.

But the KNUST SRC whose violent demonstration kick-started the kicking out of the governing council has kicked against the interim council.

In a vote of no-confidence statement to the education ministry, the student leaders asked that the decision to form an interim council be “reconsidered” and existing structures be “maintained.”

Disagreement between the student body and management of the university culminated into a violent protest last week Monday leading to destruction of property by the agitating students who 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.

 

Story: From James APPIAKORANG JR, KUMASI, ASHANTI REGION

Pix: Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education

 

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