NUGS Joins The August REDFRIDAY Protests
The Leadership of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has observed with grave concern, the repeated inaction by the President John Dramani Mahama led administration in addressing genuine and salient issues concerning the education sector raised by NUGS.
NUGS believes that quality education is a hallmark of responsible governance. The Leadership of NUGS has therefore resolved to demand that issues concerning education receive immediate attention by every means possible. We therefore join forces with OccupyGhana/Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance and Organized Labour to demand improved quality of education, improved conditions within educational institutions throughout Ghana and good governance.
The aforementioned education related issues that the government has continued to ignore include but are not limited to the following:
1. POTAG/UTAG Strike, which have caused many students to remain at home thereby whiling away their academic life, not to talk about their personal development.
2. The ailing state of Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), which has been in arrears for about one year, amounting to over five hundred million Ghana cedis (Ghc 500m) and is thus affecting education at all levels in the country.
3. The dying state of the Ghana school-feeding program as a result of non-payment of monies due the food contractors/suppliers. This is affecting the quality of food being served to our younger brothers/sisters, affecting turnout in schools and thereby reducing the enrolment gains chalked in the past few years since the programme was initiated.
4. The imminent closure of all Government Assisted Senior High Schools (SHSS) due to Government’s failure to pay subsidies and other statutory commitments for the past 2 terms.
5. Lack of basic teaching and learning materials at the basic school level of education due to the non-payment of the capitation grants to the beneficiary basic schools. Most of these affected schools no longer receive their allocation of chalk and other basic teaching tools.
6. The outstanding nine (9) months allowances owed our brothers and sisters on government scholarship abroad, which is causing some of them to turn to lives of crime and vice, thus tarnishing the image of Ghana.
7. The astronomical hikes in school fees and other levies. Most of our universities have about 50% of their admissions as fee-paying due to the government’s failure to pay subventions to the universities. Some students who were admitted on a regular subvented programme are now being pushed into the fee-paying system. Education is becoming more expensive and inaccessible in Ghana contrary to the dictate of the constitution of Ghana.
8. The two-year arrears and eventual removal of Teacher and Nursing Trainees’ allowances which some of these students use in offsetting the ever-increasing tuition charges of their various institutions etc.
NUGS is joining the peaceful demonstrations to demand focused time-bound actions to address the education related issues as have been outlined above.
In addition, NUGS would also like our RED voices to be heard regarding the current economic hardship and fiscal indiscipline by the current Government.
NUGS therefore wishes to inform all students across the various levels of the educational ladder to join OccupyGhana/Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (#OccupyGhana) to:
(i) Change their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp and all social media profiles to REDimmediatelyas a demonstration of our dissatisfaction and outrage towards several nagging issues and indeed worrying developments in the educational sector of our beloved country.
(ii) Join this months #RedFriday protest from this Friday, August 8thby wearing RED ATTIRE/ACCESSORIES in a patriotic and peaceful way. This should be supported with prayers, as well as REDon all FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp and all social media profiles.
All Students are further encouraged to upload their RED selfies unto their timelines and/or unto the OccupyGhana Facebook page with hashtag #RedFriday.
NUGS is of the firm conviction that this measure and other measures we are rolling out would go a long way to compel our government and the relevant stakeholders to address the above ISSUES.
We will ensure the Government acts responsibly to rescue the education sector from this quagmire and restores confidence with a firm assurance of a brighter future for ourselves and generations unborn.
Let no student sit on the fence. Let us join hands to do this for the love of our nation Ghana bearing in mind the National Youth Anthem: “Arise Ghana Youth for your country, the nation DEMANDS your devotion…”
We stand up, we speak up and we protest because we love Ghana. Let us do this for the love of Ghana.
God Bless Our Homeland Ghana and Make Our Nation Great and Strong.
Samuel Binfoh Darkwa