KNUST riots: Reverse mixed hall policy – Ablakwa

A former Deputy Education Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has called for the immediate rescission of the decision to convert Conti and Katanga halls of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) into mixed halls.

His call comes after students of the University on Monday boycotted classes and poured on the streets in protest of alleged brutalities meted out to their colleagues who were arrested at the University Hall last Friday and later granted bail.

The protest which was supposed to be peaceful, according to the Students Representative Council (SRC), turned chaotic with angry students burning the official vehicle of the Dean of Students and reportedly ransacked the Vice Chancellor’s office.

Twenty (20) students of the university have since been arrested by the police over the riots.

The students who are in Police custody are yet to be charged, according to Cpl. Prince Dogbatse Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Ashanti Regional Police Command.

He told Morning Starr host Francis Abban Tuesday morning that the students are assisting the Police with investigations.

Speaking on the development on Starr Today, Mr Ablakwa who is also a former student activist and President of the National Union of Ghana Students blamed the chaos that led to the shutting down of the University on the conversion of the two strictly male halls to mixed ones.

Parts of the main administration building of KNUST destroyed by the students

“Really, it is a matter of poor policy formulation and poor policy implementation that does not take on board the views of stakeholders, the students were seen as people who this whole matter could just be shoved down their throat, and the ALUMNI was neglected and abandoned. I mean you don’t implement policies in the modern era like this,” he said.

He added: “I think that it is time to withdraw that policy totally and let there be engagement.”

Meanwhile, The University Teachers Association of Ghana has condemned as appalling the destruction of properties on the campus of the Kwame University of Science and Technology (KNUST) following a violent protest.

UTAG in a statement Tuesday said it found the development at KNUST worrying and whilst it believes in the rights of students to go on a lawful protest, “It is, however, appalled by the acts of vandalism, bodily injuries and destruction of properties on the campus.”

We can’t be blamed for damage

The SRC says no student should be held responsible for the destruction of properties on the university campus during Monday’s violent protest.

According to an executive of the SRC who spoke on condition of anonymity on Accra based Citi FM, it was unfortunate university properties and vehicles belonging to some lecturers were vandalised but “no student should take responsibility for the destruction”.

He said the violent protest was a “necessary evil”.

Source: Ghana/Starrfmonline.com/103.5FM