Government dissolves KNUST Council; varsity to reopen in 14 days

General News of Thursday, 25 October 2018

Source: peacefmonline.com

2018-10-25

Chancellor of KNUST, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II with Vice Chancellor, Prof Kwasi Obiri-Danso

Information available to Peacefmonline.com indicates that government has dissolved the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Council.

A new 7-member council has been tasked by government to with immediate effect, find solutions to happenings in the school.

Government has also directed that the university be reopened within fourteen days to enable academic work to continue.

The Interim Council, chaired by Nana Effah Apenteng, Paramount Chief of the Bompata Traditional Area, has a three-month tenure.

This action by government follows briefs and recommendations made by the Minister for Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh after he led a high powered delegation, including the Minister for National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah and the Minister-Designate for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah to Kumasi.

What was meant to be a peaceful demonstration by students to express their grievances turned violent after some properties including cars and motorbikes worth thousands of Ghana cedis were destroyed – this has led to the indefinite closure of the university.

Before Monday’s protest, 10 students and one alumnus were arrested on Friday and later released.

This, coupled with the manhandling of some of the students by the school’s private security got the students infuriated, leading to the protest march.

University Authorities Claims

However, the university authorities during the crunch meeting explained to government that, some ‘strict’ measures were taken because of “wayward behaviour, hooliganism and violence on campus” by students was rampant.

Student Leadership Claims

The position of the student leadership was that reasons to convert halls go beyond the university’s policy to convert all the halls of residence into mixed sex halls.

According to them, students felt oppressed by some policies of the university authorities and that they lived in fear.

They believed they did not have enough opportunities for conflict resolution and dialogue with the authorities, resulting in a breakdown of trust between students and the authorities.

Government intervention

Government’s immediate priority is to expedite the reopening of the university to ensure a smooth return to academic work – this view is also shared by the university’s lecturers.

Government is also mindful of an adverse international image the country would suffer if the university remained closed for a protracted period, especially given the substantial number of foreign students at KNUST.

However, government has been advised by the Ashanti Regional Security Council that without a resolution of the relevant matters, it would not be safe to reopen the university.

Education Minster, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh was of the view that the Governing Council was not in a position to review its own processes and decisions affecting the student body to guarantee peace.

He however recommended to government the suspension of the university’s Governing Council and the establishment of an Interim Council.

Government subsequently directed the suspension of the KNUST Governing Council and the establishment of a seven-member Interim Management Committee (IMC) chaired by Nana Effah Apenteng, Paramount Chief of the Bompata Traditional Area.

The IMC, which was inaugurated earlier today, has a three-month mandate to oversee the day-to-day running of the university and to investigate all outstanding matters in order to expedite the reopening of the university.

The minister described the damages of private and public property during the demonstration as “unacceptable” in any circumstances.

He was emphatic that those found culpable following investigations will be surcharged accordingly.

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