Government has inaugurated an interim seven-member council to run the affairs of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology for the next three months and has directed the new council to ensure the reopening of the University within 14 days.
The Interim Council, chaired by Nana Effah Apenteng, Paramount Chief of the Bompata Traditional Area, has a three-month tenure, a statement issued by the Ministry of Education on Thursday afternoon said.
Government has also directed that the university should be reopened within fourteen days to enable academic work to continue.
The statement explained that the development follows briefs and recommendations made by the Minister for Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh after he led a delegation, including the Minister for National Security, Mr Albert Kan Dapaah and the Minister-Designate for Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah to Kumasi on Tuesday.
There were disturbances on the KNUST campus in Kumasi on Monday October 22, 2018, during which property was vandalized.
The university was subsequently shut down indefinitely upon the advice of the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC).
The view of the university management, as the delegation observed, was that increasingly, there had been acts of wayward behaviour, hooliganism and incidents of violence on campus, hence the need to take steps to protect life and property.
The position of the student leadership was that the issues go beyond the university’s policy to convert all the halls of residence into mixed sex halls. It emerged further that the students felt oppressed by some policies of the university authorities and that they lived in fear. They believed they did not have enough opportunities for conflict resolution and dialogue with the authorities, resulting in a breakdown of trust between students and the authorities.
Government’s immediate priority is to expedite the reopening of the university to ensure a smooth return to academic work. This view is shared by the university’s lecturers. Government is also mindful of an adverse international image the country would suffer if the university remained closed for a protracted period, especially given the substantial number of foreign students at KNUST. However, government has been advised by the Ashanti Regional Security Council that without a resolution of the relevant matters, it would not be safe to reopen the university.
The Ministry took the view that the Governing Council was not in a position to review its own processes and decisions affecting the student body to guarantee peace. Subsequently, the Ministry of Education recommended to government the suspension of the university’s Governing Council and the establishment of an Interim Council.
The government subsequently directed the suspension of the KNUST Governing Council and the establishment of a seven-member Interim Management Committee (IMC) chaired by Nana Effah Apenteng, Paramount Chief of the Bompata Traditional Area. The IMC, which was inaugurated earlier today, has a three-month mandate to oversee the day-to-day running of the university and to investigate all outstanding matters in order to expedite the reopening of the university.
Government unreservedly condemns the damage to private and public property during the disturbances as unacceptable in any circumstances, and states for emphasis that those found culpable following investigations will be surcharged accordingly.
It is the expectation of government that the IC will work assiduously per its terms of reference, culminating in the early reopening of the university to restore normalcy.