Students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, (KNUST) Kumasi, have endorsed plans by the leadership of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) to lead a demonstration against exorbitant hostel fees charged by private hostel owners serving students there.
They accuse Hostel Managers operating within the KNUST vicinity of taking advantage of the students’ challenges in securing accommodation to charge astronomical prices and increase existing hostel fees illogically.
The Hostel Managers met with University authorities and the SRC over the matter following a threat by the students to demonstrate on March 20. The Hostel Managers according to the SRC, agreed after the meeting to slash the charges. But that is yet to take effect.
Some students of the University who spoke to Ultimate Radio said students were reeling under the ruthless hostel fee increments being charged by hostel managers this semester.
One such student complained “I paid 900 cedis for two in a room hostel accommodation but as at now, they are 1,500 that is a 600 cedi increase which is so abnormal.”
He said the hostels weren’t also ready to deliver on all the facilities they promised students on paying for the rooms.
“The surprising thing is that, most of the hostels that charge exorbitant prices don’t meet the requirements as expected of them. Most of them are taking advantage of the dire need of accommodation and it’s unfortunate that it seems the school is not bothered about this increment” A student bemoaned.
Another aggrieved student said the fees charged by the hostels threatened his ability to source funding from his parents to pay his school fees.
“I am not the only one being fended for by my parents. I have other siblings and if I am suppose to take a thousand two hundred and fifty just for my accommodation, how can I get some money for fees and how can my parents meet the needs of my other siblings? He inquired with frustration.
Some foreign students are also unhappy with the huge amounts they are made to pay for very poor hostel facilities although they believe a demonstration is not the way to go.
An international student, who pays a thousand five hundred dollars for a room shared with another international student, said they weren’t receiving any service worth the money they were paying.
“We entered the room only to meet two beds and a fan. That’s all there is in the room; No floor mats, the bathroom is bad and we are paying three thousand for a room. The room is bad, it is empty and dirty and it is nothing worth the money we are paying,” he said.
A Nigerian lady who shares a room with three other Ghanaians complained she paid a thousand five hundred cedis while her three other Ghanaian roommates paid 900 cedis.
Another Nigerian who pays a thousand five hundred per semester however intimated that he only took the exorbitant prices as one of the hazards of living in a foreign country.
He felt the demonstration for prices was quite misplaced as according to him, “it would make much sense if the students would demonstrate for the university to look at the standards of living in those hostels rather than look at the prices they are paying.
“If we are paying this and we are not receiving any better service, then what good will it be if we reduce the prices?” he opined.
But a Lecturer at the KNUST’s Social Sciences Department, Dr. George Mainoo says the students’ intended demonstration is out of place. The lecturer noted it was as a result of the intense competition for students’ accommodation that had forced up prices and that students couldn’t by their own wish, hold prices still.
He recommended that instead of demonstrating against owners of hostel facilities, the call should be on government to “continue to increase hostel facilities.