Minister in Charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah, has explained that government dissolved the Governing Council of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) because it was disappointed in its inability to handle the feud between the students and the school authorities.
The government dissolved the Governing Council following riots by the students on Monday, October 22, 2018 that led to the destruction of 40 cars, 10 motorbikes as well as school property.
In the stead of the dissolved council, a 7-member Interim Council was put in place to run the school. This decision was highly contested by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) and other stakeholders who argued that the government had no right to dissolve the council as it was against the statutes of the university.
On Monday, 29 October 2018, Information Minister-designate Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, in a statement, said the Chancellor of KNUST, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has been requested by the government to lead efforts at reconstituting the dissolved Governing Council of the school.
Reacting to what appears to be a U-turn by the government yesterday; Prof Yankah explained that the original Governing Council was dissolved because the government felt it did not deliver.
“In the opinion of the government, the government was woefully disappointed by the council’s inability to maintain peace and order on campus and we are not just referring to a particular incident but the general circumstances surrounding the entire events were such that the government was disappointed and that is why the government had to step in with both security and also replacement of the original council with the interim council.
“It shows that the government was totally dissatisfied with how the events had been handled by the university. It became a security issue and the government had to make sure that people in the country are safe and secure. …So, with this in mind, an interim council was put in place and then it’s been decided that we should improve the pace to ensure that a reconstituted council is immediately restored to ensure that by the time the university reopens, there would be a properly constituted council in place to take over the affairs of the school,” he said.
The students’ demonstration, which turned violent, was in protest to a directive that vigils had been cancelled on campus.
Before that, some security personnel on campus had beaten some students without any condemnation from school authorities. That incident, coupled with others, led to the action of the student body.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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Pix: Prof. Kwesi Yankah, Minister in Charge of Tertiary Education