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KNUST REOPENS IN TWO WEEKS: GOVERNING COUNCIL DISSOLVED

General News

The government has dissolved the governing council of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with immediate effect.

The government has dissolved the governing council of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with immediate effect.

 

A seven-member interim council has been constituted to run KNUST in its place and the university is expected to open within 14 days to allow academic work to continue.

The interim council, which is chaired by Nana Effah Apenteng, paramount chief of the Bompata Traditional Area, has a three-month tenure.

These changes were announced by the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, when he led a high-powered delegation to Kumasi.

Among the other members of the delegation were the Minister for National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah, and the Minister-Designate for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.

Trust breaks down

The latest changes follow disturbances on the KNUST campus in which property belonging to lecturers and to the university was vandalised by students. The unrest led to the closure of the school by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, acting on the advice of the Regional Security Council.

The management’s view, the delegation observed, was that there had been increasingly wayward acts of hooliganism and incidents of violence on campus, hence the need to take steps to protect life and property.

The position of the student leadership was that the matters in dispute go beyond the university’s policy decision to make all halls of residence co-educational.

It emerged that the students also felt oppressed by certain policies decreed by university officials and that some were living in fear.

They believed they did not have sufficient channels for conflict resolution or dialogue with the university authorities.

This resulted in a breakdown of trust between students and the authorities.

State’s stance

The government’s first priority is to expedite the reopening of the university to ensure a smooth return to study. The KNUST lecturers share this view.

A spokesman for the government said it is also mindful of the adverse image internationally for Ghana if the university remains closed for a long period, especially given the substantial number of foreign students at KNUST.

However, the government has been advised by the Ashanti Regional Security Council that without any resolution of the students’ problems, it would not be safe to reopen the university.

The Ministry took the view that the governing council was not in a position to review its own processes and decisions affecting the student body, and therefore that it could not guarantee peace. As such, the Ministry of Education recommended that government suspend the governing council and establish an interim body.

The government subsequently ordered the suspension, and the establishment of a seven-member interim management committee (IMC) under Nana Effah Apenteng.

What’s the damage?

The IMC, which was inaugurated yesterday, has a three-month mandate to oversee the day-to-day running of KNUST and to investigate all matters outstanding so as to speed up the reopening of the university.

It also has a mandate to establish the full extent and cost of damage caused and to resolve differences between the university management and the student body.

The other members of the IMC are Professor Mrs Rita Akosua Dickson, Dr Edward Baffoe-Bonnie, Mrs Hilda Hagger Ampadu, Professor Joshua Ayarkwa, Mrs Abena Antwi and Kelvin Sah, president of the Students’ Representative Council.

The government said it condemns unreservedly the damage to private and public property during the disturbances. The looting, rioting and burning were unacceptable under any circumstances, it said, and stated for emphasis that those found culpable by the investigation will be surcharged accordingly.

The government hopes that the IC will work assiduously to meet its terms of reference, a statement from the Office of the President said.