Asking the Vice Chancellor of the troubled Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor Kwasi Obiri Danso to step aside is not the solution to the current crisis at the institution.
According to a former Dean of International Students at the University of Ghana, Professor Christopher Gordon, the solution is to find the root cause of the problem to avoid an escalation of the situation.
“…Yes, the Vice Chancellor is the CEO, the buck stops with him. But sometimes stepping aside or removal is not the best way to handle things,” he said on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday.
Following the violent demonstrations by students of KNUST over alleged brutalities, government on Monday asked the Vice Chancellor of the school to step aside.
Government directed Prof. Obiri Danso to hand over to the Pro Vice-Chancellor.
Dissolution of the school’s governing board and the setting up of an interim board has also been met with stiff opposition from other stakeholders.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Professor Chris Gordon, who is currently the Director at the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies, College of Basic and Applied Sciences at the University of Ghana, said such knee-jerk approach to issues will further worsen matters.
“Universities are thorns of knowledge, we are based on research and evidence, and if the powers that be cannot ask for that to be done, then we will always have a knee-jerk and ad-hoc decisions which just complicate and makes the problem more difficult to solve,” he said.
He said finding the root cause to the impasse at KNUST has to be done with urgency to forestall further crisis.
“We need to get to the root cause; we need to understand who did what and why. If apologies or reparations have to be made it has to be done now and quickly. If it is an issue of restraining security staff…it has to be done now. We need to come out with concrete actions based on the reality of the situation and not what we imagined it to be. This is what I think they are doing.”
“We think we know what the problem is but we don’t know what the real problem is. Across the board, we have knee-jerk reactions; we implement policies without thinking them through. If we continue like this we will not get anywhere,” he added.
Opposition to a new council
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, has criticized the dissolution saying the management of KNUST was being politicized.
“You are politicizing the council, and that is dangerous because you are going to give political actors the chance to go into universities and do what they wish and that is dangerous for our democracy and very dangerous for all of us,” he told the press in Parliament.
“When you put in the interim committee, and they find out that after all the university council did not act illegally, what do you do when you have already dissolved them? You don’t even have the power to do that. Within their statutes, they have enough provisions to deal with this.”
KNUST lecturers have also declared an indefinite strike over the government’s dissolution of the university’s governing council.
The lecturers say they do not support the government’s arbitrary decision without due consultation with them and also sidelining the Vice Chancellor of the University from the interim council.
KNUST TEWU, UTAG, others demonstrate over dissolution of council
Members of the Senior Staff Association, the Ghana Association of University Administrators, the University Teachers Association of Ghana, and the Teachers and Education Workers Union (TEWU) of KNUST, have demonstrated against the dissolution of the University’s Governing Council.
The demonstrators, who marched through the campus clad in red, amidst chants with placards, called for the dissolved council to be restored.
Others also called for the removal of the Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh.