The Member of Parliament for North Tongu constituency in the Volta Region, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has described the decision by authorities of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to defer the courses of some 6,000 students for non-payment of fees as “harsh and inconsiderate” considering the current economic hardship.
Mr Ablakwa is, thus, appealing to the Ministry of Education to urgently intervene and save the future of the affected students.
“It should not be difficult for government to instruct student support schemes such as the Scholarship Secretariat, Students’ Loan Trust, GNPC Scholarship Foundation, Cocobod Scholarship and GETFund to extend immediate relief to our 6,000 young Ghanaians,” he suggested in a Facebook post.
The lawmaker urged affected students in his constituency to contact his office for assistance.
He proposed that it is perhaps time for Parliament to revisit its earlier motion calling for a special subsidy on fees, particularly for needy tertiary students because education is a right.
The university announced that students who owe more than 70 per cent of their school fees were to automatically defer their courses by 7 April 2022.
Despite the affected students having been allowed to sit their mid-semester exam which started on 11 April 2022, those who still had not paid up after the first exam week were forced to defer their courses.
The University Relations Officer, Dr Daniel Norris Bekoe, said on Wednesday, 20 April that there was the need to “apply the fees policy this year which has been approved by the academic board and it is required that as an undergraduate student you must register your courses at the beginning of the semester and pay 70%.”
Despite a three-month window – February to April – for students to fully pay up their arrears, Dr Bekoe said: “A number of students are playing games with the University”.
“For example, they use their school fees to buy Uber; others are setting up bakeries…while others are using it for betting, and we have evidence,” he told Accra-based Joy FM.
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