The Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has said students found culpable in the recent demonstration at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), which led to the destruction of properties and items, valued at GHS1.7 million, will be held accountable.
This come after several back and forth attempts to reconstitute the University’s Governing Council which were met with protests from various bodies with representation on the Council – UTAG, TEWU, and the Senior Staff Association, until the intervention of the Chancellor, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of the new members on the Governing Council, he said it was the position of the government that “the relationship between the university authorities and the student body has broken down.”
But, he observed, the students’ need to have confidence that their views are respected and taken onboard in decisions affecting them.
However, he said the Students Representative Council (SRC) “must own up to and must be prepared for the consequences of their actions because of the level of destruction,” adding that individually all found culpable must face the rigors of the law.
The Education Minister also charged the Council to work closely with the management of the University to restore academic work, as soon as possible, while helping to address the occurring issues that affects the University.
The six new members of the Governing Council who were sworn in include Nana Agyei Baffour Awuah, Nana Effah Apenteng, Alex Quaynor, and Hilda Hagar Ampadu. The others members are Steve Anoff Amoaning-Yankson and Alhaji Yakub A.B. Abubakar.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, said the next stage of efforts to put the University ‘back on track,’ after the recall of students among others will be to look into all the factors leading to the break down of order on campus.
He opined that this cleaning process will help to draw the right lessons for the future administration of the University.
“Accordingly, a full and transparent inquiry must be set up into all the circumstances leading to the day of horrors,” he stated.
To this end, he said a 5-member Committee will soon be put together, after a careful consultation, to carry out a full audit of the development leading to the riot by a section of students of the University.
The Committee will be led by a Judge, will probe all the remote and immediate causes of the disturbances on the KNUST campus, and the lessons to be derived.
The Asantehene among others cautioned that nothing should be done to hamstring the Council from discharging its duties to develop the policies for the running of the University in accordance with its statutes.
He also stated that neither students nor alumni or any group within the University would be allowed to dictate and conduct itself in a manner that undermines the integrity of management, of the University.
Otumfuo said while the University awaits the probe which will look into the issues that occurred, he was optimistic that the Council will work together with the University’s management to ensure the swift return of normal academic life on campus.
Meanwhile, the re-opening of the University has been scheduled to Friday, November 16, while lectures are anticipated to also resume on Monday, November 19.
This was after Council of the University, at its 251st, Special, Meeting in consultation with the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) reached this agreement.