KNUST Re-Opens Friday

Students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi will return to school on Friday, November 6, 2018, exactly 25 days after the university was shut down indefinitely following violent protests by students which led to massive destruction of properties on campus.

Academic work is also expected to resume on Monday, November 19, this year, the University Relations Officer (URO), Kwame Yeboah Junior, who was beaming with smiles, told scores of journalists on campus yesterday after resolving the impasse.

The announcement was made after the successful inauguration of five new members of the Governing Council of the university.

Government submitted the names of four persons while the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) submitted the remaining one.

The Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, affectionately called ‘Napo,’ swore five new members into office in the presence of the Chancellor of the KNUST, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and other dignitaries from the academia and government.

Other stakeholders such as the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and Tertiary Education Workers Union (TEWU), among others, however, maintained their representatives on the KNUST Governing Council.

Otumfuo’s Role

When the irate students of the university embarked on violent protests in the morning of Monday, October 22, this year, which led to the destruction of properties including vehicles, computers and sensitive security gadgets in the school, the Asantehene was on a foreign trip.

Upon his return to the country, Otumfuo told stakeholders that wanted to replace their members on the KNUST Governing Council to quickly do so for the university to be re-opened.

Government believes members of the previous KNUST Governing Council were partly to receive the blame for the rumpus on campus which led to the shutdown of the university.

Government revealed that individuals who sat on the previous Council ought not to be on the new Council, insisting that permanent representations from the constituent bodies such as TEWU, UTAG, Convocation, Alumni and SRC ought to be changed.

The government and the National Council for Tertiary Education saw the need to replace their representatives on the KNUST Governing Council.

Otumfuo’s Speech

Otumfuo Osei Tutu, in his address yesterday, condemned the decision of the students, who are the future leaders of the country, to ignore the university’s laid-down procedure to drum home their grievances and destroy properties.

“The university is not a jungle so an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect should be quickly restored between the school’s management and the students to avert violent acts in future,” the Asante Monarch added.

According to him, the incident at KNUST had brought shame to all stakeholders of the respectable and famous university, adding that henceforth an enabling environment should be created by management so that students can freely and willingly report matters bothering them for redress.

Otumfuo also sternly warned the students not to repeat the violent acts in the university no matter the level of provocation, stressing that lawlessness, lack of respect for laid-down procedure and violent acts would no longer be tolerated in the university.

5-Member Committee

The Asantehene announced that a five-member committee, to be chaired by a retired judge, would quickly be constituted to thoroughly investigate circumstances that led to the riots and destruction of properties in order to prevent recurrence in future.

Otumfuo revealed that as Chancellor of the university for the past decade, he had contributed significantly to the transformation of the university.

The KNUST has chalked up successes in the academic arena, and so all stakeholders, including the university’s management and students, should contribute their quota to help lift the positive image of the school and shun violent acts.

Napo’s Speech

The Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, also said the government was not happy with the riots that led to the temporary closure of the university, reiterating the commitment of government to the immediate re-opening of the university.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by scores of dignitaries, including the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah; Kumasi Mayor, Osei Assibey Antwi and Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Asokore Mampong, Alhaji Alidu Seidu and others from academia.

Bad Boys In Trouble

Meanwhile, the KNUST URO, Kwame Yeboah Jnr, has told the media that security agencies have started investigation into the large-scale destruction of properties on campus, adding that the security agents already have the names of some of students.

“The security agencies have so far contacted the university for the names of some of the students, who they believe can assist them in the investigation of the violent protests. The security agencies are handling that aspect so that they will determine what happens to those students,” he added.