The University of Ghana (UG), Legon, is considering partnering private hostel owners to augment the current accommodation challenges.
The head of Halls at UG, Dr Wiafe Akenteng, revealed that management has contacted private individuals within a 12 kilometres (Km) radius of the school to provide hostel facilities to house students.
“We have done what we call off campus accommodation, we have asked individuals who have facilities within a 12km radius of the university, and we have been able to acquire 400 beds from that,” he explained in a telephone interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra,last Monday.
This comes after scores of newly admitted students of the school were forced to abandon their courses due to their inability to secure accommodation.
Dr Akenteng said due to the relatively low fees being charged for accommodation in the traditional halls, the school would not be able to gather enough funds to construct new on-campus hostel facilities.
He further appealed to parents to be willing to pay a “little bit more” at the traditional halls so that the monies collected could be channelled into building more hostel facilities saying “the monies currently collected for accommodation goes into maintenance of the halls.”
Checks by the Ghanaian Times at the UG campus revealed that some newly admitted and continuing students were stranded and uncertain as to how to secure hostels for the semester and had to resort to other alternatives.
A level 100 student, Kevin Essel, said someone had promised to help him get accommodation but he still had not heard from the individual which had made him stranded.
“ Someone promised to help me so I was depending on her, but now the halls are full and I do not know what to do,” be bemoaned.
A level 300 student, Joseph Awer, said the university’s portal was opened so they could access the halls but the story was different this year.
“I do not think the portal was opened because I was at the site at 8:50 a.m. waiting for the 9:00 a.m. time line, only to see that there were no available halls,” he disclosed.
Joseph said he would have to resort to coming for lectures from Tema because the private hostels were not as comfortable as there was, water and electricity problems.
The Acting Student Representative Council President of the UG, Stephanie NaaduAntwi, on her part described the current issue as unfortunate, meanwhile the SRC was searching for accommodation off-campus for admitted students.
“The SRC in the meantime is looking for rooms or hostels off campus in places like Okponglo, Bawaleshie, Shiashie, Madina for students to pay and then wenegotiate with the various landlords to subsidise rate for the students,” she said.
She, however, cautioned students to desist from “sending money via mobile money to anyone who claims can help with accommodation” emphasising that “they should inspect the rooms promised and pay only to accredited banks with the UG account.”
Accommodation at the UG has continued to be a challenge for students every admission year, but this year the issue appears to have worsened.
While University Halls paid GHc427, private hostels charges ranges from GH 9,997 to 13,997 for Ghanaian Students and between $1,032 and$4,337 for international students depending on the number of people in the room.
BY JESSEL L. THERSON-COFIE AND CONNIELOVE M. DZODZEGBE