U/W residents demo against realignment of UDS facilities, programmes

residents in the Upper West Region on demostration

residents in the Upper West Region on demostration

Hundreds of residents in the Upper West Region have taken to the streets to register their displeasure about the intended realignment of faculties and programmes of study at the WA campus to the Tamale campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS), by the university’s administration.

The peaceful demonstration held over the weekend was necessitated by a memorandum issued by the realignment committee established by the university towards the transferring of two proposed faculties of Arts and Social Sciences together with fourteen (14) departments to Tamale.

Clad in black and red attire, the infuriated demonstrators, made up of chiefs, former district chief executives, political party supporters, alumni of UGS and traders, marched through the principal streets of Wa.

They wielded placards with inscription such as ‘Upper West Deserves Better’ ‘Upper West MPs, shame,’ ‘UDS Wa Campus, where are the numbers’ and ‘Expedite action on autonomy’.

Presenting their concerns on behalf of the group, the Convenor of the demonstration, Mr. Issahaque Suleman, asked President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo through the regional minister to stop the transferring of the faculties and departments to the Tamale campus of the university.

“A grand scheme titled, ‘Realignment and Rationalisation of academic staff’ to take them away and finally collapse the Wa campus is set in motion. In fact, the current Principal of the Wa campus, Professor Amin Alhassan, was a member of the committee that drew the realignment scheme,” the Convenor, alleged.

He said residents of the region suspected a possible sabotage of the Wa campus as a rebuttal to the people’s insistent request for autonomy for the campus, since 2012.

Mr. Suleman decried the rate at which admissions on the campus had decreased since 2012, stating that, “In 2014, 4,612 students graduated in all disciplines from the Wa campus. This number dropped to 2,413 graduates in 2017. This is a reduction of about 50 per cent of students. Within the same period, the Tamale campus saw an increase of about 400 per cent from 335 in all disciplines in 2014 to 1,497 in 2017. These figures were not manufactured by us but are available in the 15th and 17th programme and list of graduates’ handbook of the UDS.”

The demonstrators called on government to expedite action on plans to make the Wa campus of UDS autonomous, and also admit more students in the interim.

This, they claimed would save the local economy of the region by providing jobs for residents, who would want to satisfy the increased demand for goods and services as well as reduce migration of the youth to the southern part of the country in search of non-existing jobs.

The petition was received by Kassim Abdul Rauf on behalf of the regional minister, after assuring the residents that he would relay the issue to the minister.

LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA

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