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Students express worry over UTAG Strike

BY: Dickson Worlanyo Dotse, Faith Ayorkor Mensah & Yaa Kuffour Senyah
Some students manually assisting other students with their registration process. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo
Some students manually assisting other students with their registration process. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo

Some university students have expressed worry and frustration over the possible shortening of the academic calendar due to the strike by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG).

They said while COVID-19 had already disrupted much of the calendar, they feared the subsisting strike when called off eventually, would compel the lecturers to organise crash lectures and other activities which would not be in the interest of students.

Interactions

Interacting with some of the students at the campuses of the University of Ghana and the Ghana Institute of Journalism, the students also lamented the payment of huge sums of money to secure hostels for a period, only to idle about on campus almost a month into the academic year.

A final year student of the University of Ghana, Simon Akwaboah told Daily Graphic that his major concern was the academic calendar.

He said if the strike continued, the students would pay the price as the academic year would be extremely short with lots of lessons and lectures cramped into it, thereby negatively affecting students.

A fresher, Ms Gladys Adutwumwaah Yeboah speaking to the Daily Graphic, referred to staying on campus as a waste of time and resources since there were no academic activities going on.

“It is becoming a waste of resources on my side because we are literally wasting time and money doing nothing at school,” she lamented.

The General Secretary of the University of Ghana, Accra City Campus, SRC, Desmond Buabeng, told the Daily Graphic that he felt students were losing out.

“This strike has taken an academic, financial and emotional toll on us,” he said.

He explained that students had paid fees for tuition but were not getting any lessons in return.

Mr Buabeng also said students had paid lots of money for hostels and were now sitting idle in their rooms, spending on upkeep.

He added that the uncertainty of the state of affairs was stressing students, which was bad for them.

Another final year student, Judith Nawanga Jakpa said she felt bad about the strike because she had not been able to tune her mind academically, adding, “I don't even know what to expect after the strike”.

She also said being on campus was expensive and with teaching suspended, students were incurring more cost just by being on campus

Another final year student of GIJ, Ms Narkie Adjirackor told the Daily Graphic that the strike was affecting her finances.

“We have paid for hostels, some have paid for a semester, which is just three months so, if school is not in session and then the three months ends, meaning, they have to move out,” she added.

She also said if the strike did not end soon, the academic calendar would have to be revised, which would affect all students, especially final years, because graduation would be delayed.

“Covid-19 has already affected our academics and now we have to deal with strikes too,” she stated.

Observation

At the time of visit to the GIJ campus in Accra, it was almost empty with just few students around, who explained that they came to fix problems they had with their registration or grades from the previous semester.

A visit to a nearby hostel saw students sitting idle chatting, or in their rooms hoping to hear news of lecturers resuming for commencement of teaching and learning for the new academic year.

The campus of the University of Ghana was not different. The campus was empty, except for a few students who had queued in front of the Students Accounts Office, to attend to certain challenges they faced with the registration process.

Lecture halls were locked, with few students seated in a group and on the corridors outside the halls engaging in personal studies, while waiting for lectures to begin.