KNUST board dissolved . Interim Council takes over . University to reopen in 2 weeks

Dr. Mattew Opoku Prempeh,Education minister

Dr. Mattew Opoku Prempeh,Education minister

The government has set up a seven-member Interim Council to manage the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) following its decision to dissolve the school’s Governing Council.

Chaired by Nana Effah Apenteng, Paramount Chief of the Bompata Traditional Area, the Interim Council which has a three-month tenure, was to investigate all outstanding matters to expedite the reopening of the University within 14 days to enable academic work to continue.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Accra yesterday said that the dissolution of the Governing Council was upon briefs and recommendations made by the Minister for Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh after he led a delegation including the Minister for National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah and the Minister-Designate for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah to Kumasi following violent protests at the KNUST campus on Monday, October 22.

It said MOE’s recommendation to government to suspend the Governing Council and establish an Interim Council was based on the fact that the Governing Council was not in a position to review its own processes and decisions affecting the student body to guarantee peace.

During the delegation’s interaction with the university management, the statement said the management argued that there had been increasing acts of wayward behaviour, hooliganism and incidents of violence on campus, hence the need to take steps to protect life and property.

It said the students leadership’s position was that the issues go beyond the university’s policy to convert all the halls of residence into mixed sex halls and that the students were oppressed by some policies from university authorities and  lived in fear.

The statement added that the students further said 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.

The statement said although the government’s priority was to expedite the reopening of the university to ensure a smooth return to academic work and protect the country’s international image given the substantial number of foreign students at KNUST, the Ashanti Regional Security Council has advised that without a resolution of the relevant matters, it would not be safe to reopen the university.

The government condemned the damage to private and public property during the disturbances as unacceptable in any circumstances adding that those found culpable following investigations would be surcharged accordingly.

The statement said the government expects that the Interim Council would work assiduously per its terms of reference to ensure the early reopening of the university to restore normalcy.

It will be recalled that on Monday, October 22, the students of KNUST, led by its leaders embarked on a protest at the Kumasi Campus to petition the University authorities of what they described as “high handedness” in dealings with the students.

The peaceful protests turned ugly when some angry students resorted to vandalising vehicles and other University facilities including the Administration Block.

About 10 students were arrested by the Police and taken to the Regional Police Headquarters to assist in investigations.

Upon the advice of the Regional Security Council, the university was subsequently shut down indefinitely and students directed to vacate the premises by 12 noon on Tuesday, October 23 following a dusk to dawn curfew.

By Times Reporter

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