The Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science Technology (KNUST) has inaugurated the reconstituted Council of the University following the impasse between students and management which led to the dissolution of the Council.
At the 251st Special Meeting of the Council, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education, swore in new members of the Council. Besides representations from groups and associations in the University, six new members comprising four (4) government nominees, and a representative each from the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) were sworn in.
Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education, administered the oath of office and the oath of secrecy to the new members of Council.
The new members of Council are Nana Effah-Apenteng, Mr. Steve Anoff Amoaning-Yankson, Ms. Hilda Haggar Ampadu, Mr. Alex Quaynor, (government nominees), Alhaji Yakub Ahmed Bin Abubakar (CHASS)and Nana Agyei Baffour Awuah (NCTE).
In his address, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, stated that government recognises the duty of KNUST to the nation, Africa and the global community in educating, training and shaping the younger generation to take up positions of authority and responsibilities in the very near future.
He said that being aware of the issues that led to the closure of KNUST, the constitution of the Council comes at a very sensitive point and requires leadership and clear direction from members of Council as a matter of urgency to get academic work back on track. Dr. Opoku Prempeh made the Council aware of the need to provide leadership that would establish and strengthen the appropriate organisational structures and systems to deliver their mandate.
The Minister of Education continued that the members of Council are expected to use their leadership skills and work closely with university management on reopening the University as soon as possible. This, according to him, is important to ensure that academic work is restored to normalcy to preserve the image of the University as a credible institution of higher learning.
Dr. Opoku Prempeh stated that it is the view of government that the relationship between the University authorities and the student body had broken down and a culture of mistrust had begun to evolve on campus. Government therefore expects that the Governing Council, will take a strong lead and direct an examination of this relationship, identify the issues and provide recommendations on the way forward in preventing occurrences of similar situation.
The Chairman of the Governing Council, Nana Effah-Apenteng, Omanhene of Bompata, on behalf of the Council pledged to use the opportunity given them to serve for the progress of the Institution and the country. Nana Apenteng also called on other members to rise above any other interests aside that of the University in order to move the country forward for development, as education is key to national development. He also assured the Chancellor of his support for the Committee of Enquiry that will be instituted.
The Chancellor of the University, His Royal Majesty, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, thanked government, the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), management for protecting lives and property in the impasse. He was also grateful to all stakeholders, particularly, management and labour unions on campus for their cooperation.
The Chancellor noted that KNUST is the premier university of science and technology in the nation and a pinnacle of the nation’s educational system. He acknowledged the institution as the one on which the nation depends for scientists, engineers, architects, doctors, agriculturists, technologists, among others needed to develop the country.’
The Asantehene said majority of students who pass through the university are children of poor Ghanaian parents who have to endure tremendous sacrifices to see their wards into the university. “To think that this university had to close down due to protests by a section of the students on a policy measure on which they disagree, which degenerates into a terrifying rampage, is unfortunate”.
He was hopeful that the constitution of the Council marks the first step of a challenging journey towards the restoration of normal academic work in the University.
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Otumfuo Osei Tutu II revealed that the next step after the inauguration of the Council would be to find the causes leading to the breakdown of order on campus and disentangle all knots to ensure a smooth administration of the University. To this end, he announced the setting up of a five-member committee to ensure full and transparent enquiry into the circumstances leading to destruction on campus. This Committee, according to His Royal Majesty, would be headed by a retired judge.
He called for the protection of integrity from all sections of the university, as well as academic freedom in our democratic dispensation as a country.