Students of the Kwadaso Agric College on Tuesday deserted their classrooms in protest of the failure by government to restore their allowances.
The Ministry of Agriculture had announced earlier in October, that it had tabled the requests from the students for the restoration of their allowances before Cabinet.
[contextly_sidebar id=”kYXuwm1nmKrPv73WBsqACCAH7j60Zsmn”]That announcement was made following agitations from students of five of the colleges, who besieged the premises of the Agric Ministry in Accra last Wednesday, demanding the immediate release of their allowances.
However, since Cabinet convened last Thursday, there has been no updates of a possible restoration of the allowances, forcing the students to ditch their classes in an attempt to force the government to act.
Citi News checks at the school revealed that, red bands had been tied at the dormitories and lecture halls, a traditional sign of protest.
The President of the school’s Students Representative Council (SRC), Stanley Mensah, stated that, the action had become necessary because of the apparent disregard for Agric students across the country by the government.
In an interview with Citi News, he insisted that despite the negative implications their boycott will create, they were justified in their demands, as unlike the nurses and teachers, they weren’t guaranteed jobs and needed the allowances to survive.
“We think that either somebody is not being fair or something is wrong somewhere. That is why we believe that all the students have to come together, leave the premises of the school until the Ministry is done with the processes to get our allowances for us. We are not being treated fairly, and are not being regarded in the country, so there’s no need for us to be on campus. We took our books and our things and vacated the premises of the school. As we speak, if you go to Damongo, Kwadaso or any college in Tamale, the schools are virtually empty and nobody’s there,” he said.
“Nobody will say that if you do this, it won’t affect anyone because it will. We’ve left the time for learning and we’re concentrating on the [allowances]. We are not getting direct employment like the teachers and the nurses. We feel that we’ve been neglected and devastated, and nobody’s speaking on our behalf. Management of the school don’t do anything to help us because they feel they are public servants and how can they talk about allowances when they receive their pay. They aren’t ready to do anything for us.”
4, 000 graduates to be employed
The Agric Minister, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, addressed the crowd that had besieged the Ministry, stating at the time that “cabinet has its own procedure for considering such demands, and I can assure you that your demand is seriously being considered.”
In an interview on Eyewitness News later that day, the Minister’s Press Secretary, Issah Alhassan, stated that, they had been cleared by Parliament to employ over 4, 000 graduates from the colleges who had been without jobs since 2011.
“For the past six years, no student from the Agric College has ever been employed into the public service. Now the Minister has told them emphatically that cabinet has agreed that from next year, almost 4, 000 students would be automatically employed into the public service,” he said.
The complaints of the Agric students were sparked by the restoration of allowances of trainee nurses by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.
The students, whose allowances were scrapped along with the nursing trainees under the Mahama administration, argue that they are being discriminated against by the government despite the assurances.
The President of the Agricultural College Students Union, Chimbu Sampson Sanika, said: “We are not satisfied with that information. We want our allowances restored so that we can go through our tenures successfully.”
By: Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana