As a student who sees our educational institutions as an avenue to cultivate a positive change in behaviour and shift from the regular jugular that has bedevilled our national development due to unfeasible decisions targeted at development, I am saddened by sudden development on the student front of the Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (AAMUSTED).
Though very youthful as the university is only into its second anniversary following the passage of the university’s bill into law on August 27, 2020, the institution has been known as the College of Technology (COLTEK) under the erstwhile University of Education Winneba.
It should be assumed that, all these whiles, various individuals who have led this institution as Presidents of the Student Representative Council (SRC) would have charted a path that will be a guide to the new leaders.
However, under the leadership of Peter Henry Bernasco, students have rather been handed a raw deal. The mantra as always used during political campaigns such as “Students matter”, “Students first”, “Students at heart”, “I’m for students’ welfare” among others have degenerated into “My matter”, “Students second”, “My career at heart”, “Your welfare is yours” with possible additional options currently running through your mind.
To put it, Mr. Bernasco has spearheaded an unprecedented number of financial adjustments which have all negatively affected students of AAMUSTED during this COVID-19 stricken era we find ourselves in which has not only affected Ghana but the world at large.
First, was the decision of the SRC President as a member of the university’s management to impose on Students an upward adjustment in Residential Accommodation from GHc850.00 to GHc1,200.00 representing some 41.17 percent hike. It should be noted that, this decision has led to private hostels inflating overwhelmingly, their charges.
Notwithstanding the above, the SRC Dues which forms part of the fees charged by the university is also hovering around a 40 percent increment.
As if that has not been enough, the actions of the SRC President now compels students to pay a penalty of GHc20.00 for the late payment of fees and registration of courses which is subject to be incremented daily from the week starting March 28. This third act, the students feel is like being sentenced to jail.
In putting up this, the few questions which I have gathered from the students are:
- Were they to have the monies, why then would they have waited to pay a penalty which can be used to defray other costs such as purchase of course materials?
- How surprising it is that the six-week long industrial action embarked upon by the University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (UTAG) could not have been factored into the decision-making as it has deeply eaten into their budgets?
- The possibility that, the penalty, if put together, could have help offset a greater chunk of the fees.
Not compromising on the regulations and statutes of the university, the students believe that, management can reconsider its stance considering the economic hardship we find ourselves in by totally suspending, the payment of the penalty and extend the closure of the registration date to the end of April.
This we believe, should the management conceive, would greatly impact on our psychological and emotional stability as we go for lectures in preparation for our end-of-semester examinations.
However, the student body now calls on the President of the SRC to empathise with them when arriving at decisions with management that affect their welfare during their course of studies.