The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of the Navrongo campus of the University for Development Studies has strongly stated it will resist any attempt by management of the institution to upwardly adjust academic fees.
The council says the school in the last two years has seen increment in fees and that, another attempt to make inflations will be unfair, unconstitutional and against the regulatory policies of the National Council for Tertiary Education.
Speaking at their “Who Is Speaking The Truth” press conference held at the school premises Wednesday, President of the Council, Raymond Korbla Otivi, stated that any “unjustifiable fee inflation” the University authorities would come out with will be met with fierce resistance from the student body.
He questioned why the authorities would want to increase fees when the facilities of the school are nothing as compared to what students in other universities in the southern part of the country enjoy, even though they pay comparatively low fees.
Mr. Raymond Korbla Otivi said: “per history and records, we are to pay something for the management of the facilities that we use and that is the basics for the academic facility user fee. We know that. But what is happening currently, our managers of tertiary institutions have turned it into a different thing altogether. And we want to use this press conference to send a signal and make government aware of what is happening in UDS. If there are increments and they say universities must increase fees, UDS should never increase fees. No matter the kind of services they provide for us, we are telling the whole world that UDS doesn’t have any right to increase our school fees. This is because our Academic Facility User Fee (AFUF) has been inflated two or three times in the last two years and we have been paying this same amount”.
“we have made the analysis and showed documentations to that fact. If someone will go to KNUST year 1 and will pay Ghc 1,749 and in year 2, it will decrease to 1, 300 or 1,400 or even 1,500 but that is not the case here in UDS. Are we saying it is because of the trimester system that things (fees) have gone up like that? We can’t and won’t accept that. We can never accept that”. He stressed.
The Council scrutinized the school fee components and accused the school authorities of implementing a flat rate fee payment system to cover up for the “greedy and unfair” practice in the university.
“In other jurisdictions, as you progress your fees come down. But here in UDS, your fees go up as you progress. And because of that and in order not to let people know that this is what is happening, they chose to implement this flat rate system whereby they combine year 1,2 3 and 4 and strike an average and tell you that you are paying this amount”.
The Council bemoaned the lukewarm approach some key government officials and institutions have given the several petitions sent them stating issues bothering the student body and called for such institutions to act swiftly to curtail disturbances in the future that may arise as a result of the frustrations the students are going through.
The Council reiterated the preparedness of the SRC to hold dialogues with authorities for amicable solutions to the matter, adding that default to have fruitful discussions will leave the students with no choice than to hit the streets with a massive demonstration to vent their difficulties.
They have given authorities a one-month period to work out their challenges or they will do anything permitted by law to pressure management to reconsider plans to increase their academic fees.
The SRC also announced the suspension of their peaceful student demonstration, stating reasons including the impending ban on noise making by the Navrongo Traditional Council.
Navrongo UDS running on life support
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports our reporter has gathered indicates that the University is currently facing huge financial challenges that may affect the operations of the school and weaken its fortunes as it will soon become an autonomous body.
The university, which has since the beginning of the 2018/2019 academic year received its first quarter payment of its budgetary allocation recently, is also ran with funds the institution raises from the renting of school facilities and monies from pockets of some benevolent staff members.
Renovation of student hostels, repair works on the school lighting system, to among other things boost the degree of visibility in the night on the campus and some major maintenance work that are supposed to be carried out to give students the necessary and conducive environment to facility smooth teaching and learning, have all been put to hold due to the inadequacy of the released funds.
The university, according to reports, has so far been disbursed with an amount of Ghc 68, 000, representing grants for one out of four quarters, which is woefully inadequate to support the school’s operations.
Another challenge the school faces is the lack of vehicles for administrative work. The Principal, it is gathered, has no official vehicle and accommodation.
Internal academic positions attained by elections, it is gathered, have been given out on tribal lines in the campus. Despite the presence of a Professor, the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Science, for example, is said to be headed by a Dean appointed over a year now. Appointments into such positions, the Reporter gathered, must not go pass one year. Per enquiries, it is said that a substantive head with the qualification must be elected to take over within one year.
Several attempts to get the school authorities at the Navrongo campus to comment on the issues have been unsuccessful.
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