The high hostel fees being charged by some university managements in Ghana is badly affecting students in Ghana, the President of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) Emmanuel Boakye Yiadom, has told President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
He pleaded with the president to deal with the university management that create artificial shortage of accommodations on campuses in order to profiteer from the students.
He said this when he and some of the other executives of NUGS paid a visit to the President at the seat of government to table some concerns before him.
Some students at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on Friday, July 16 demonstrated over what they describe as outrageous hostel fees.
The students took to the principal streets of KNUST and marched peacefully through to all the seven traditional halls on campus amidst chanting war songs.
The number of protestors gained momentum as they walked through the halls.
There was heavy police presence to ensure a chaos-free incident.
One of the leaders of the protesting students who identified himself as Nii, while speaking on Akoma FM’s current affairs and political show GhanAkoma told sit-in host Sir John that “our main aim is to let authorities know our plight. We are paying so much”.
“Some of the hostels have increased their fees by 50 percent, so you see we are not only crying for ourselves, we are crying for our parents and guardians so we will march from campus to the rent control office for authorities to know our situation,” he said.
The NUGS President told President Akufo-Addo on Thursday August 19 that “There has been an issue of astronomical increase in hostel prices over the years on our various campuses and this is something that has been affecting Ghanaian students for long.
“As a union, we have made certain contacts and we have realised there are certain deliberate attempt by some university management just to create an artificial shortage on campuses so we are also calling on your highest authority to a certain point get to the university management to be flexible on the Build, Operate and Transfer policies in the various universities.”
On the ongoing impasse between the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the National Labour Commission (NLC), he called on the president to intervene and ensure that the issues that have resulted in the strike are resolved.
He noted that the strike is negatively affecting students in the country, a situation that warrants the intervention of the president.
“As a union we commend our minister and other government agencies in their ability to get UTAG to return to the negotiations because this is a matter that is really affecting Ghana students.
“At the end of the day we will still plead with both parties to take away all forms of entrenched positions such that the negotiations processes will not be prolonged or delayed. At this point we will call for your intervention and help situate that our lecturers return to the classrooms.”
Mr Akufo-Addo told them that UTAG has agreed to return to the classroom after a long drama of negotiations.
The president further said a road map has been put in place to resolve the issues and he hoped that this road map will be adhered to by all parties.
“All of us are happy that the University lectures have agreed after some long drama negotiations to suspend the strike we are hoping very much some soring binding arrangement will be finally agreed on by the parties. There is a road map that has been established and hopeful both parties will make sure that this road map is carefully implemented,’ Mr Akufo-Addo said.
The application filed by the National Labour Commission (NLC) against the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has been struck out the Labour Division of the Accra High Court.
Lawyers of the NLC had told the court that the two parties had reached agreement on the matter.
UTAG and NLC were reported on Wednesday August 18 to have taken steps to discontinue the court case over the strike action by the union.
This was reached on Wednesday, August 18 after officials of UTAG and NLC had a meeting to discuss the way forward.
They are also taking steps to return to the negotiation table.
A statement said “That both parties (Government and UTAG) agree that there is a need to get back to the negotiating table from the week beginning Monday, August 23, 2021.
“That a road for negotiation, as agreed at previous consultative meetings between the parties, which imposes a one-month mandatory period beginning 23rd August 2021 for negotiations, shall be signed by both parties;
“That whilst the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations in conjunction with the NLC is taking steps to discontinue all legal processes against UTAG, UTAG will also take steps to suspend the ongoing strike action;
“That government acknowledges the need to improve the working conditions of University Teachers and shall treat this will all the seriousness it deserves.”
Earlier negotiations between the state and UTAG broke down, compelling the NLC to seek intervention from the courts.