feature by Elizabeth Baah
Tema, Feb. 27, GNA –
Living away from home especially for schooling is a rite of passage most people
in Ghana have to gone through.
For the student, the
traditional university halls which accommodated those now in power are no
longer a viable option because they now
lack the capacity to house the overwhelming population seeking tertiary
education in Ghana.
The hostel concept
has evolved to largely fill this huge vacuum as they litter in all shapes and
forms over cities and towns where tertiary education can be accessed.
form, rent and other services are not regulated but they are surely the place
for average students to seek accommodation but for the rich few, apartments
which come at a high rent, will do.
The most told
stories about the evolution of the hostel could be traced to the year 1909 when
a German teacher, Richard Schirrmann, noticed the need for overnight, cheap
accommodation for his students during trips so that they could get other
experience in addition to what they got at school.
In 1912, he
established the world’s first youth hostel in Altena Castle in Germany. He also
founded the German Youth Association in 1919 and as interest grew globally,
youth hostel association grew in leaps and bounds.
IN THE HOSTEL
The hostel concept
is not only limited to boarding and study but
it also serves as a human social laboratory.
As a centre of
academic and social education, life in the hostel can be a pleasant journey, in
that, students within the same age range live together sharing common
aspirations, sentiments and challenges.
Thus, students from
the same generation with diverse backgrounds develop a great sense of intimacy
while they use their absence from the family to
explore the self and nurture self accountability and responsibility.
Studying and living
together create a great sense of oneness among peers leading to bonding, which
may be useful in the future, according to Ama Abrefa, a hostel tenant.
According to her,
students tend to help each other both academically and socially when the need
It is however very
obvious that life outside the hostel cannot be equated to the life in a hostel;
both are really opposite faces of the coin, hostel life is full of fun,
amusement and youthfulness while in
humble homes, chores and stark realities of life may draw energy. and
zeal from the home bound student,
Lawrence Abaka, a student tenant, argues.
The rooms in the
hostels are usually packed so the sensitive type will have to endure the
snoring, unintended flatulence that come with deep sleep and other discomforts.
However, with the
cooperation of student tenants, differences can be resolved for the creation of
a congenial atmosphere for academic work and social bonding.
hostels, lounges or special rooms are available for studies and meditation but
they do not come cheap.
To mitigate the
effects of noise, some resort to earplugs or eye-covering sleeping masks while
other endure it as an adventure and a preparation towards independent living and how to compromise with
the oddities of life.
Life in the hostels
encourages more social interactions between students due to shared sleeping
areas and communal areas such as lounges, kitchen, study room and a lot more
creating an irreplaceable bond among the students from different backgrounds
and this is what students living outside the hostel miss out.
CURRENT SITUATION IN GHANA
accommodation while entering the tertiary institution in Ghana is one of the
major challenges students go through.
Most hostels are
located far from the schools which put another financial of the cost
ransportatio on them.
Ideally, facilities needed
in a hostel setting are free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, TV, radio, Shower, desk
and chair, study room, safe box and a commercial washing machine but the
reality is that hostels are full of
problems including visible cracks or even holes in walls, leaking roofs,
poor sanitation and toilet facilities, poor water supply and poor ventilation.
of sanitary pads becomes a major concern
as such, that time of month is
another headache for female students,” according to Pamela Naa Nio, a
Students in higher
institutions to a large extent are being deprived of their psychological needs
as a result of poor hostel accommodation which hinders studies.
Mr Frank Kwaku
Acheampong, an official of the Nyaniba College of Health, which charges 1000
Ghana Cedi’s or more for a bed annually, acknowledges the fact that managing a
hostel is very hectic because the student tenants come from different social
backgrounds and had different attitudes and behaviors .
although were aware of the rules and regulations governing the hostel, would
deliberately violate the rules and regulations and when they are cautioned, it
leads to misunderstanding, “he said.
For most tertiary
students in Ghana, the most challenging issue facing them in their pursuit of
education is not the pile of assignments lecturers give them, neither is it the
volume of books they have to read, nor the tough examinations they have to
write at the end of the semester but finding a suitable accommodation.
The rents of some of
the hostels cost more than tuition fees thus compelling some students to
commute from their various homes to campus every day as they have been
economically excluded from the hostel market, Mariam Razak, a student opined.
In the University of
Ghana, residential rents range from GH¢853.00 to GH¢2,900.00.
University, hostel rents ranges from GH¢2,900.00 to 4,700 per year.
The Ghana Telecom
University College hostel rates range from GH¢1500.00 to 3500 per year.
Ghana Institute of
Journalism (GIJ) has no accommodation for students, let alone talking about
In spite of the huge
rents, some of these hostels do not have
a study room, commercial washing machine, TV and a lot more needed to make the
hostel life worth living.
The Rent Control
Department should have an oversight responsibility over the management of the
hostels. It must come out with
guidelines stating clearly which amenities, number.of students to share
a room, and other things that make life relatively comfortable.
It should also issue
a standard rent regime for both private and public hostels.
should also publish avaliable hostel and hall spaces as part of
pre matriculation information for students to make informed choices.
Ghanaians should be
taught lessons on maintenance as it would help preserve the few amenities
avaliable in the hostels.
Hostel owners must
be capable of providing adequate rooms and
basic academic and recreational facilities to justify their existence on