An Open Letter To KNUST Interim SRC

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Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right”. Great words from a great man (Martin Luther King) is the source of my inspiration towards this worthy cause to call for your attention. I go by the name Casty, a Natural Resources Management Graduand of the KNUST.

I would first and foremost like to congratulate the newly elected student governing body, the ISRC, on their appointment as new student leaders of this great institution. Within this short period of instigation, they have quite shown traits of commitment to work which is commendable and worth mentioning. I would like to encourage the board to keep up the spirit thus far.

With that being said, I would like to instantaneously head straight to tackle the subject matter. Much has been said and perhaps done on this subject yet, fewer resolutions seen on the matter. Student Politicians, leaders, activist and others have raised a voice or two on the issue of HOSTEL PRICES in this great institution but little seems to be done about it every time. I find it therefore needful to draw this vital issue into the spotlight for the new leaders to take this on as an early project to embark on before school resumes for the next academic year.

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The rise in prices of hostels has caused students and parents to wail and plead for a reduction in the exorbitant prices but has sadly fallen on deaf ears with no signs of the likelihood to consider and take out the action of making a reduction.

Some hostel managers find this as great business opportunities to nibble off of students of which some cannot even afford a 3-square meal in school. The school, recently issued out a report stating their inability to run certain projects due to a greater debts capacity from students owing School fees. This then somewhat shows the chunk of students with weaker financial muscles unable to keep up with the rise in the economy as we progress. How different is it then with hostel fees when they cant even afford for school fees?

The priority and expenses for education normally topped the list for students but in KNUST, the priority seems to have changed from firstly acquiring knowledge to firstly acquiring a place to lay your head, with students and parents worrying sick as to how to keep up with these rises. The average price of hostel is GHC2000 for 8 months spent in school while majority of the programmes have GHC1900 as the highest amount paid as academic fees. Melancholy, this doesnt tremendously affect the student in the high-class sector, but, to the somewhat average and low, this is extremely heartbreaking.

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Imagine the bread seller or carpenter’s child who has been given the opportunity to learn and become a better person, how does the family cope with GH2000 for residential fees? There are parents who had to consecutively go for loans for their wards all because they have to have a place to rest after their academic activities, others had to make their wards defer and this is no joke! Surely this is a sign of misplaced priority.

To a more devastating point, COVID-19 has drastically wounded the economy this year but this is the time hostel managers find it relevant to hike hostel prices, with the lowest in the range of a GHC300 increase which is exacerbating the financial plight of many who are not well to do; This is a nightmare.

I would like to truncate my submission though there is more that can be said. I would want to appeal to the committed ISRC to get in touch with the various stakeholders of the school and together seek a remedy for this issue because we are not in normal times. I may not have to be worried about this issue since I am a graduand but I uphold myself for a good cause backed by my conscience that it is right with the words of Martin Luther King which I started this piece with.

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I deem it a necessary step to direct this as a serious call of concern to the newly elected leaders. I am confident of better results from the ISRC because I know the head of the board, Hon. Ether Ayim has had this subject on his heart for a while now. This would serve as a courtesy reminder, as I hold them to their words of seeking for the students to have confidence and trust in them to deliver diligently upon their instigation. Attached to this article is a list of some of the outrageous hostel prices for the 2020/21 academic year. I may not be affected directly, but I am connected to people that are and this must end!

Hoping to hear a good feedback from you to the people of KNUST, let not our trust in the leadership system fail again.

Casty Dampson

Natural Resources Management Graduand


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