The man fuming about his damaged tiles but not his KNUST son's cracked skull
University professors. They would recommend that technocrats ought to run this country. Give them 500 acres of space and put 50,000 students there for them to run a university and the only thing that runs is students running helter-skelter.
When we condemn students for the violence to public property but appear to tone down on the violation of the private dignity of students we become like that good joke.
The joke about a man whose chief worry when his son hit the floor violently was whether his brand new tiles were damaged. That is the entire essence of a press statement by some University Administrators Association of Ghana.
Lecturers who have read 300 pages of research do not appear to have read the first three pages of the 1992 constitution that demands a respect for human rights.
How can we not be shocked that school authorities can remove elected students their colleagues queued to vote for, cane adults and brutalize ‘jama-loving’ students who are yet to find out later in life that chanting songs won’t buy them ‘pre-paid’ to power their homes?
And there are those who are quick to point out that students came to school to learn, forgetting that if that was all Kofi Annan did during his time at KNUST, he would not have become a UN Secretary-General – only a Vice-Chancellor perhaps.
In his autobiography, Mr. Annan talks about his active involvement in student leadership that respected dialogue and how through that he once travelled to a NUGS programme in a West African country that triggered events leading to his entry into the UN.
You would bet the current Vice-Chancellor Prof. Obiri Danso has not read this book.
E-Lab would also bet that the current Vice-Chancellor has not read the UNYouth strategy that seeks to re-engineer the world body to accommodate the youth and harness their views.
Students at the tertiary level have reached that stage in life where they develop a fascination for ideals like social justice, freedom, equality.
They will test this good fascination on the status quo and seek to impose them in their environment like the same way a toddler would want to impose his idea of food on anything that can enter the mouth including crayon.
This is exactly the moment where you need Vice-Chancellors, Dean of Students and university administrators to play a most crucial role of shaping their student’s social philosophy and ideals through engagements, dialogue and a general posture of allowing them to test even wrong suggestions.
But what we have here is a group of people with a narrow-minded view that schooling is about books only for them to get shocked that employment is about skills.
We hear people say students should not waste time protesting but focus on books but get shocked that when this student finally became a manager at COCOBOD or SSNIT, he did not protest inflated contracts brought by the CEO but only focused on taking his salary.
We forget that ‘the essence of school is instruction but the essence of education is quality’ and that while at Secondary School students must take instructions but at university, they must be encouraged to question instructors.
This country has big brains. Ask the technocrats. What it lacks is small balls – observe the students who abandoned their books and marched in protest.
If we condemn the students' behavior as animalistic, E-Lab suspects they would choose the camel as their totem because he heard one of their leaders say Saturday’s brutalities against some students was the ‘last straw that broke the camel’s back’.
Why should we then be shocked at the behavior of a camel looking for his back?