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Regional News Thu, 22 May 2014

Tertiary students to demonstrate over subsidies removal

Students in the country’s tertiary institutions might be hitting the streets soon following government’s decision to completely withdraw all subsidies on tertiary education.

According to the Students Representative Council of the University of Cape Coast, full cost recovery will truncate the education of many students and hints of a nationwide demonstration to put pressure on government to rescind its decision.

It appears Students Representative Councils of the nation’s tertiary institutions are lacing their boots to rally tertiary students for what could be one of the biggest demonstrations in the country’s history.

The students based their claim on a document they have seen spelling out a detailed roadmap to wean public universities off government subventions. The move according to the SRC of the University of Cape Coast, UCC, would peg the least paid fees at GHC 3,200 for each student.

The SRC President of the University Of Cape Coast, David Boakye, relaying some correspondence to the student body on campus based radio ATL FM, pointed out that the utility charges of the school has been lifted off the shoulders of government to be borne by students.

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“The shocking thing is that a letter coming from the Ministry of Finance, addressed to the Vice Chancellor of Legon, copied to all Vice Chancellors of all government subvented universities, copied to all rectors of polytechnics, all principals of nursing training colleges and teacher training colleges, released in March 2014 reads that government has refused to pay utilities since January”.

Several of the students who spoke to Ultimate Radio’s Central Regional Correspondent, Richard Kojo Nyarko, were already traumatized by the news as they fear students who cannot afford the fees might not return to school next semester.

A student who had obtained a copy of a bill to be charged for the 2014 academic year reeled under shock at the percentage increase in fees to be charged Social Science students.

“With the breakdown I have here, the school will be charging 750 on utilities as in water and electricity raising the fees by about hundred percent. Social Science students paid 742 last academic year and we are now paying 1,300 next academic year,” he bewildered.

The President of the SRC told Ultimate Radio, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission is scheduled to meet with the university management on the 28th of May. He suspects the meeting is to “talk the university management into accepting and preparing towards fending for itself without government subvention.”

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“It means students are going to pay for lecturers and staff of the university and that is why the fees are going so high and students are panicking,” he stated.

He hinted that plans were already underway within the corridors of SRCs across the country’s tertiary institutions to put up a spirited impending demonstration to halt the austere policy.

“I am seeking permission that they allow us to hold a national demonstration we are already planning,” he noted.

He stated further that all SRC Presidents are planning with NUGS to educate students through press conferences of what is in the pipeline.

Source: Ivan Heathcote-Fumador/Ultimate Radio/Kumasi