General News of Wednesday, 9 January 2019
The leadership of Agricultural Colleges Students Union, (ACSU) comprising of Kwadaso Agricultural College, Ohawu Agricultural College, Tamale Animal Health and production college, Damango Agricultural college and Ejura Agricultural College has announced its intention not to resume on February 8, for the next academic calendar.
That’s according to a statement jointly signed and issued by the National President of Agricultural Colleges Students Union, Tokoli Promise Buenortey and the ACSU President, Kwadaso College of Agriculture, Twum Michael.
According to the students, they feel neglected and have no access to government benefit.
The Students leadership in the statement copied to gbcghanaonline on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, then candidate in his 2016 election campaign promised to restore the scrapped allowances, feeding grants, and others but since assuming office, Agricultural Colleges students in the country has seen nothing.
Below Is The Full Statement:
AGRIC STUDENTS TO BOYCOTT CLASSES ON FEBRUARY 8 OVER NEGLECT
The leadership of Agricultural Colleges Students Union(ACSU) comprising of Kwadaso Agricultural College, Ohawu Agricultural College, Tamale Animal Health and production college, Damango Agricultural college and Ejura Agricultural College wish to declare its intention not to resume on the 8th February, for the next academic calendar and also help the politicians to collapse Agricultural Colleges in the country, since Teacher and Nursing Training colleges are their priorities.
Agriculture has been and still the backbone and the problem solver but is not under the umbrella and the dinner table of the nation, is the nursing and teacher trainees who are dearly served.
We feel neglected and have no access to government benefit. President Nana Akufo-Addo, then candidate in his 2016 election campaign promised to restore our scrapped allowances, feeding grants, and others but since assuming office, Agricultural Colleges students in the country has seen nothing.
The leadership of ACSU after several formal attempts at getting the Ministry to properly address the plight of the students of the colleges took a unanimous decision with the concern of the students to embark on a peaceful demonstration at the head office of the ministry at Accra in November, 2018.
The minister, Honourable Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto assured the student body that the ministry had sent the concerns of the students to parliament, and that solutions were being found to the issues.
The student body after receiving no favourable response from the ministry went on an indefinite strike.
The ministry, then called the ACSU leadership for a meeting. At the meeting were SRC representatives from all the colleges. At the meeting, documents were shown to the student leaders which clearly showed that the ministry was indeed making efforts at getting the issues resolved.
The ministry made it clear that it was waiting for clearance from the finance ministry to make allowances accessible to students.
The ministry also promised that it was also working on bringing in the student loan provision in addition to the restoration of the allowances.
ACSU want to state on record that, the NPP government led by His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo promised allowances and not student loans as they are saying, and now the question is why is it that only agric colleges are to go for students loan?
Thus, this confirmed what the spokesperson for the Ministry Issah Tanko said the government is paying much attention to the sensitive part meaning, they lied to us to win power but not how to improve the lives of we the Ghanaian or the the education sector.
The ministry prior to this meeting had gone to all colleges to pick data on students. There was therefore every indication that the allowances were going to be restored.
Furthermore, the ministry showed that many processes had gone on towards the restoration of the allowances which would take some bureaucratic processes to happen, so students were rather doing themselves harm by sitting at home.
The leadership of ACSU then took the decision to call off the strike upon pleas from the ministry as well as agitation by a considerable section of the student body.
Unfortunately, the ministry gave no response as had been previously promised, leading to the dropping out of some students as well as the deferment of courses by some.
If government deemed it right to restore allowances to teacher and nursing training colleges, government must as a matter of urgency realise that the Agric colleges deserve same, as the students depend heavily on the allowances for their upkeep and tuition in some extreme cases.
Many final year students under the previous ACSU administration had to drop out due to lack of finances to cover the overly expensive tuition.
The leadership of ACSU has every cause to believe government released monies to be paid to students as allowances and the ministry diverted the funds, owing to the documents that Hon. Oduro showed the executives.
ACSU is therefore demanding for the resignation of Hon. George Oduro for deceiving a student body of over 2,500 and subsequently ask for the restoration of the allowances as promised, improved infrastructure, feeding grants and the provision of buses before 8th February, 2019.
On Tuesday 27th November, 2018, in pursuant to issues arising among Agricultural Colleges Students Union concerning issues of allowances and other internal matters ranging from utility, feeding grants, health and safety, just to mention but a few, a delegation from the National Secretariat of NUGS led the Coordinating Secretary, Leader Shadrach Owusu paid a visit to the student leadership of the Agricultural Colleges Students Union (ACSU) at Kwadaso in Kumasi to have a dialogue and also to help in bringing up strategic plans in solving the problem at stake.
The leadership of ACSU stated with all emphasis problems they face, core of which are as follows;
1. Lack of allowances; a major problem
Unlike the teacher and Nursing trainees, the agricultural college students allowance have been scrapped off since 2015.
2. Direct employment after school.
This was to express their displeasure on the Government’s interest in moving graduates under the Teacher Trainee and Nursing students into the Job field, seemingly neglecting them who equally contribute to the country’s economic growth through Agriculture.
3. Feeding grant
They stated that aside their allowances being squashed off, they have to pay their own feeding fee which is 3gh a day (and you can imagine what kind of meal 3gh can fetch in 3 square meals)….
4. Buses and Transportation
They stated that they have no busing system in the school and due to the practical nature of their course, they have to be paying to organise transportation when they are going to the field, and with they not getting any allowances it makes it very difficult for them
5. Poor infrastructure and Poor welfare conditions.
The SRC stated that issues concerning health was a major problem as they don’t even have an infirmary.
NUGS assures them that their concerns will be tackled with immediate effect and solutions would be drawn from the appropriate quarters but all proved futile.
ACSU believes the government has shifted it’s attention to the Teacher and Nursing Training colleges and we intend to join them to get the needed attention.
What hurts most was the spokesperson for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture(MoFA), Issah Tanko telling Agribiz TV that the government want to pay much attention to the sensitive areas before us, as Agricultural students.
We are by this declaring that, we are not going to resume on the 8th February, 2019 until our challenges are addressed and ready to help politicians collapse Agricultural colleges in the country.
Tokoli Promise Buenortey
(National President of Agricultural Colleges Students Union)
Twum Michael, (ACSU President, Kwadaso College of Agriculture)