General News of Fri, 28 Feb 20030

Expedite action on GNUPS demands

The Ghana National Union of Polytechnic Students (GNUPS) on Friday called on the government to expedite action on major problems facing polytechnics in the country.

GNUPS also urged the government to issue a white paper on the New Grading System; Staff And Infrastructure and Academic Autonomy reports and to institute immediate investigations into the operations of the Job Placement and Academic Progression Committee.

Mr Issah Mohammed Ikilil, GNUPS National President, who made the call at a press conference in Accra, also expressed concern about the pain and hardship of Ghanaian workers under the current unbearable economic circumstances.

He said: "GNUPS would like to urge the government to put in place effective machinery to relieve workers of this pain. By this, we ask government to increase substantially the allowance for National Service Personnel and the Student Loans Scheme."

The student's body last year presented a six-point resolution listing a number of grievances to government after demonstrating against the New Grading System.

They were the academic progression of the Higher National Diploma (HND) Graduate; Job Placement Of The HND Graduate; Autonomy Of The Polytechnics; lack of adequate academic and administrative staff and infrastructure (both academic and residential) and the implementation of the Ken P. Brown and Professor F.O. Kwami's Reports.

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The press conference was organised to mark the day, of their last year's demonstration was also used to inform the public on the progress made by the Ministry of Education and the student body to resolve the problem.

Answering questions from newsmen the Students warned against undue delay in the implementation of the recommendations of the two committees.

They also accused the Job Placement and Academic Progression Committee of open bias and attempts to frustrate the efforts of the students.

The Students, who were clad in red attire, said the press conference was their first line of action to announce to the world of their frustration, "but our next line of action would be serious."

Polytechnic students on February 26 last year went on a demonstration during which they blocked traffic from the main Tudu road to the Railway station area.

The students clashed with the Police, when the Police insisted on allowing only 30 students into the Castle to present a petition.

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The students tried to force their way into the Castle Gardens to begin a hunger strike.

The demonstration was against a New Grading System, which pegged the pass mark at 50 per cent and to push the government to review the system.

Twenty students were arrested and were later released unconditionally.

Three were injured.

They urged the government to show more commitment toward resolving the impasse and accused it of being silent on their plight.

Source: gna

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