The leadership of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) and the Ghana National Union of Polytechnic Students, (GNUPS) say they have lost faith and confidence in the ability of Education Minister and her Deputy, Hon. Okudjeto Ablakwa to resolve “overwhelming” issues on the education front; and are thus calling for their outright dismissal.
In a joint statement issued recently, the two bodies stressed Madam Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman and Hon. Okudjeto Ablakwa respectively must not be allowed to continue in office.
NUGS and GNUPS say they plan to embark on a three-day demonstration at the end of July, (29th – 31st) dubbed Yay? m?b? demo to back their demands for urgent solutions to the outstanding issues, including the prolonged POTAG strike; worrying state of GETfund; withdrawal of teacher and nursing trainee allowance; lack of teaching and learning resources at the basic level of education; and the inability of Special Schools to reopen.
Another issue, the two groups are unhappy about relate to what they say is the “Collapsing state of the school feeding programme coupled with the imminent closure of all government assisted Senior High Schools,” according to the statement.
Read the full statement below
PRESS STATEMENT JOINTLY ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL UNION OF GHANA STUDENTS (NUGS) AND THE GHANA NATIONAL UNION OF POLYTECHNIC STUDENTS (GNUPS) ON JULY 17, 2014 REGARDING OUR NATIONWIDE “YAYE MOBO” DEMONSTRATION AGAINST SOME WORRYING DEVELOPMENTS IN THE EDUCATION FRONT
The leadership of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) and the Ghana National Union of Polytechnic Students (GNUPS) wishes to bring to the notice of the government and indeed the general public some of the reasons for our highly publicized nationwide “YAYE MOBO” demonstration to be jointly staged on 29th-31st July, 2014 by the two main student unions in the country.
We wish to state without equivocation that our unwavering resolve to staging this demonstration, as a last resort is anchored on the fact that we have already exhausted all avenues of constructive engagements available to us. We have also sent countless petitions and sought audience with the relevant authorities on several occasions in our quest to finding amicable solutions to the issues at hand but unsuccessful.
The issues include among several others the following;
ON THE ISSUE OF THE PROLONGED POTAG STRIKE
Without mincing words, we wish to once again register our disgust at the seemingly unending impasse between the government on one hand, and POTAG on the other regarding the “monster”, called book and research allowance. This conundrum which has lasted for well over two months has now culminated in the mandatory closure of all ten polytechnics in the country for the first time in our history.
Polytechnics students countrywide have already been subjected to too much psychological and academic trauma without any fault of theirs. More worrying is the fact that the fate of all final year students regarding their national service assignment remains hanging.
In and as much as we are not interested in the apportionment of blames to either side, we think that the rather dismissive posture adopted by the ministry of education and for that matter government relative to the concerns of the lecturers is not only problematic but also counterproductive in the nation’s quest to resolving the impasse.
We would not also hesitate to chide government officials especially, Hon. Okudjeto Ablakwa, the Deputy Education Minister and other government communicators who continually call the bluff of POTAG members with unwarranted innuendos, aspersions and tagging them as ‘enemies of the State’.
To this end, we wish to call on both parties to consider the plight of the students and thus, reduce their intransigence with the necessary compromises in an atmosphere of constructive engagements that would nib this problem in the bad for the sake of mother Ghana.
ON THE WORRYING STATE OF GETfund
We are also very quick to once again revisit the issue of GETfund which has been in the limelight in recent time for all the bad reasons. The GETfund authority has been absolutely non-functional in the performance of its statutory functions because of government’s
deliberate refusal to honour its statutory commitments to Fund in palpable contravention of our laws (in this case, the GETfund Act of 2000, Act 581).
This position has further been given more jurisdictional and legal impetuous by an Accra High Court last week which instructed the Ministry of Finance to pay all arrears owed GETfund pursuant to a suit filed by one Richard Nyama, a youth activist.
It is incredibly worth noting that since July last year, GETfund has not received a dime from government; which now owes GETfund a little over 600 million Ghana cedis; an equivalent of 6 trillion old cedis. We are hoping that government indeed adheres to the court ruling with the necessary alacrity.
WITHDRAWAL OF TEACHER AND NURSING TRAINEE ALLOWANCE
It is still our conviction that government reconsiders its infamous decision to scrub teacher and nursing trainee allowances because of the untold hardships the trainees are made to endure in coping with the rising cost of their training expenses.
LACK OF TEACHING AND LEARNING RESOURCES AT THE BASIC LEVEL OF EDUCATION
It is almost normal nowadays to hear news about lack of basic teaching and learning materials like chalks, textbooks, teachers’ notebook, classroom registers, Continues Assessment (CA) and several others at the Primary and Junior High Schools which undoubtedly, militate against the quest to providing quality basic education to our brothers and sisters at that level.
Many a time, students and school authorities are compelled to incur extra expenses to cater for such lacuna or improvise where possible. How more unfortunate and pathetic could the situation be?
InABILITY OF SPECIAL SCHOOLS TO REOPEN
Government’s failure to honour its statutory commitments and social contract to the good people of this country has indubitably, reached a crescendo with the recent revelation that Special Schools could not reopen for lack of funds and other resources expected from central government.
This is absolutely nothing but pathetic to say the least!
COLLAPSING STATE OF THE SCHOOL FEEDING PROG COUPLED WITH THE IMMINENT CLOSURE OF ALL GOV’T ASSISTED SHSs.
Another disturbing issue of serious concern to us has to do with the ailing state of the Ghana School Feeding Programme due to government’s huge indebtedness to the caterers employed under the programme who are always heard crying over the roof top for their monies.
We also recall that somewhere last week, the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) had issued a statement warning that they might be compelled to close down all government assisted senior high schools because of the humongous arrears owed them by government.
Interestingly, we are witnessing all these bizarre happenings in the education sector under the stewardship of an avowed educationist and former vice chancellor of UCC, Madam Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman who we hitherto thought we could better rely upon because of her previous vast experience as a former student leader and lecturer.
The leadership of NUGS and GNUPS wish to state categorically that we have lost faith and confidence in the ability of Education Minister and her Deputy, Hon. Okudjeto Ablakwa to resolving these overwhelming issues in the education front hence; we are calling for their outright dismissal without mincing words.
LONG LIVE THE STUDENT FRONT
LONG LIVE MOTHER GHANA.