UG Accommodation crisis: Lydia Alhassan steps in as Dumelo fails to honour promise
The Incumbent Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Lydia Seyram Alhassan has promised to come on board to address the accommodation crisis facing students of the University of Ghana (UG) by erecting new hostel structures, President of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), Isaac Agyeman has said.
According to him, the lawmaker who serves as the Member of Parliament for the Constituency reached out to the students’ council after learning of the situation. However, her promise comes on the condition that the students’ body take the first step in gathering funds, to reduce the huge financial burden.
“I think with our MP, you know we started, as I earlier mentioned, the hostel project, she was one of the people who came on board and promised to help when we are able to come up with something as students. You know, looking at how huge the budget for the entire hostel will be, we have to come up with something as students and then she has also promised to come on board to help us so that we can also get what is due us to help in the hostel as well” he stated in the interview with ABC News.
The University of Ghana for the 2019/2020 academic year, has admitted about 11,193 fresh students; however, the inadequate residential facilities in the school has left over 9,000 of the students in and out of Accra stranded.
As part of measures to deal with the crisis, actor cum politician, John Dumelo in August promised to help deal with the situation. In a twitter post on August 30, he said “I have interacted with many Legon students these past few days and I can understand their accommodation frustrations. I want to assure those affected that I’m working together with the TEIN executives to try and solve the problems”.
But, interacting with ABC News, the SRC President disclosed that the actor is yet to officially commit to the pledge.
“No, he hasn’t reached out to me officially as SRC President on this issue. I think it was a post on his social media outlet that he is helping with the accommodation issue but as to what he is doing I don’t know but I think we’ve been brought to a notice something that we can also reconsider and see if we can also engage him as well as to what he really meant by what he will do to help the students, of course, I mean we need all hands on deck to help this situation so if he’s saying that we’re looking at how his help could also come” he stated.
In the interaction with ABC News, Isaac Agyeman dismissed reports of a possible hack of the university’s residential registration portal despite reports of an admission by the school’s authority.
“I think students have a way of being speculative in their conversations, you get it, from an official point, the university body in charge of IT has released a statement that the system was never hacked so as an SRC President and of course I deal with officials correspondence so from an official point, there was nothing like hacking within the system but of course, though students are speculating that the available rooms but I always ask, if there are rooms, why not come to me and say these are the rooms you think are available because if there were really rooms, why won’t the halls give out? But as SRC president what I know is that the rooms that were available has been given out to the student populace and if there are any additional ones, that I do not know of” he noted.
The student leader further indicated that the SRC has managed to get hostel accommodation for fifty(50) out of the over 9,000 stranded students.
He, however, noted that efforts are being made, through the construction of the new SRC hostel to handle the infrastructure problem once and for all.
“As at now, what the SRC has been able to do is that we’ve been able to get extra beds for students at the hostels outside campus. About 50 students have been successfully placed in private hostels outside campus. That is what we’ve been able to do as an SRC as at now. After what happened on Friday, this is what we’ve been able to do. But we’re hoping that subsequently, we will be able to do more to help our students but of course,you know issues of accommodation required that infrastructural commitments done so that is what we are looking at, and in due time when we’re able to come up with funds that is required, we can put up a very good structure that is a hostel, which will be in phases, so the first phase we’re looking at around 2,500 bed capacity space and then subsequently we add on with another 2,500 until we’re able to solve our own problem.
As it stands now, exterior accommodation has been secured for these people, that is accommodation outside campus has been secured, in campus, the beds are not available. the ones that are available was around 1,900 so those were the ones given out. We as an SRC see that we have to help our students who are stranded also in our own little way. So we’re also going out there engaging with people who have available rooms so that they can also provide accommodation for these people” Isaac Agyeman told ABC News.
According to him, discussions are currently ongoing as to how to raise the necessary funding for the construction of the new hostel. He assures though that by the end of the this week (first week in September), all necessary alterations would have been made to make way for the construction.