The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) embarked on a strike on Thursday over unpaid book and research allowances for the 2014/2015 Academic Year. This comes within weeks to the commencement of a new academic year in the various public universities across the nation.
The University of Ghana (UG) is scheduled to reopen on the 12th of August. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science And Technology (KNUST) is also set to reopen on the 21st of August with the University of Cape Coast having its Freshers reporting on the 8th of August. But given the strike, universities would have to reschedule reopening dates if the government doesn’t resolve the situation with the lecturers as early as possible.
Soliciting the views and opinions of students on the strike, it came out that a not so surprising majority are quite happy about the strike because it would mean a longer vacation period. Others, on the other hand, are quite disturbed and hope the situation is resolved quickly so they can resume normal school activities.
A few had these to say:
“Personally, I think that the UTAG strike has become an annual nightmare. Funny enough, students predicted the strike, yet government failed to see it coming. The government needs to get to the root of UTAG’s demands and solve them once and for all”.
“I think they are not being fair to the government, UTAG is trying to take advantage of the current situation of strikes by Doctors & other labor organizations, but I also partly blame the government. They always wait till Lecturers go on strike before they put measures in place to settle their allowances and demands.”
Eugene, a student of KNUST also added that;
“Well, I think it’s going to put pressure on the students when school reopens late, because lecturers would have to rush through their lectures in order to make up for the lost time and the syllabus might not be fully covered. On the contrary, it would give students adequate time to make ready certain payments such as tuition fees, accommodation fees, dues and the like which will make students feel at ease once these basic needs are settled. On the part of lecturers, I guess we all know how the story goes; they have families to feed, so it’s only proper for the government to give them what they deserve.”
Interestingly, other students also questioned the substance of the matter causing the strike; Book and Research allowance. Most were of the opinion that lecturers rarely engaged in research and that their lecture notes were not revised and improved on for years.
One student said “I think the strike is unnecessary, how many of our lecturers actually engage in extensive research? We use lecture notes and handouts that are decades older than us, used and studied by our predecessors, how do we expect to improve and develop as a nation when those spearheading our education do not engage in extensive research to bring up more ideas and inventions to transform and improve our fortunes. Both the government and the University Lecturers are to be partly blamed for the current predicament.”
Whatever the case, we hope the government resolves the situation with UTAG as early as possible so that students can get back to school, The Ministry of Education indicated today that they are already putting measures in place to settle the allowances of the lecturers.