General News of Thursday, 8 November 2018
The National Council of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) says it is hopeful the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II will resolve the stalemate in the reconstitution of the governing council of KNUST to ensure the resumption of academic work.
UTAG said Thursday it believes the Otumfuo will be fair in his resolution of the issues surrounding the reconstitution of the board which was to have been completed by November 2.
Following threats of strike by UTAG and other stakeholders over the formation of a seven-member interim council, government took steps to remedy what critics said was a breach of the university statutes and gave the Otumfuo, who is the chancellor of the University, five days to form a new council to take over from the interim one.
Before the new council could be constituted, there were some of the groups with representation on the KNUST council were going to maintain their members who were on the old council which was dissolved following violent protests that caused the university to be shut down three weeks ago.
But the government is insisting that no old member of the dissolved KNUST governing council should be maintained on the new one being constituted because they are “a party to the impasse” between the university and the student body.
According to the government, it reached an agreement with the various groups to nominate new persons to the new council, however, the groups say the government cannot dictate to them on the issue.
They have insisted on maintaining the old members on the dissolved council on the new one being put together by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
According to UTAG, they met with the Asantehene on Wednesday over the current stalemate and resolved at that meeting to let Otumfuo resolve the issues for a new governing council to be put in place.
UTAG National Secretary, Dr. Seth Kusi Boadi said on Yen Sempa on Onua FM Thursday that “We are optimistic by the end of this week, he will resolve the issue and that student will resume because we [UTAG] don’t have the right to reopen the school”.
He said without a council being in place, it will be difficult for the academic work to resume, adding “we know Otumfuo will not toe the line of government; he will work within the laws, he will not do what will favour government or UTAG but what the law says.”
Disagreement between the student body and management of the university culminated into a violent protest last Monday leading to destruction of property by the agitating students who have accused the university management of arbitrariness and disregard for their rights.
The violent event, which started from last Friday, forced the Ashanti Regional Security Council to close down the university on Monday.
Government on Thursday, October 25 dissolved the government council of the university based on the recommendation of its fact-finding delegation led by the Education Minister, which held discussions with the feuding party on October 23.
An interim governing council chaired by the Paramount Chief of Bompata Traditional Area, Nana Effa Apenteng has been put in place to run the university for the next three months.
Gov’t dissolves KNUST Council, directs school to reopen within 14 days As part of its mandate, is to ensure the university reopens within 14 days for academic work to resume.
But the constitution of the interim council triggered declaration of the strike by the University Teachers Association of Ghana and the KNUST administrators among other stakeholders.