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Deputy Minister cautions students against disruptive politics

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Student unions in tertiary institutions have been cautioned against political activities that could foment trouble and destabilize the peace of the country ahead of the November 2016 elections.

The Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of Tertiary Education, Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who gave the advice, urged the unions not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to accomplish their political agenda in this election year.

He reminded them that the unions represented the collective interest of students from different backgrounds mandated to address their concerns but not to be used as puppets of some political groups.

“In an election year, student unions have the responsibility to contribute meaningfully to the peace of the country by conducting themselves in a manner that will not heighten political tensions or undermine the peace of the country,” he stressed.

Mr. Ablakwa was addressing executives of student unions at the third annual meeting of students’ leaders in Accra.

The event brought together the student leadership of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Ghana National Union of Polytechnic Students (GNUPS), Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana (TTAG), Private Universities Students Association of Ghana (PUSAG) and the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG).

The rest are the All Africa Students Union (AASU), Ghana Union of Professional Students (GUPS), National Health Students Association of Ghana (NAHSAG) and Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) as well as representatives of various Students’ Representative Councils (SRCs) in tertiary institutions.

According to the Deputy Minister, the unions were supposed to remain a non-partisan movement with well-structured activities geared towards promoting the welfare of students while ensuring healthy public discourse through their activities.

He explained that the engagement between the ministry and the tertiary institutions through the annual meeting with students’ leaders as well as the ministry’s youth programme dubbed “Campus Connect” was aimed towards building a stronger relationship.

Mr. Ablakwa noted that the two programmes were not for political gains but to enable him interact regularly with tertiary students to help address some concerns that would be made known during these interactions. Additionally, he said, the interactions also inform policy formulation and annual programmes of the ministry designed to enhance tertiary education in the country.

The President of NUGS, Michael Paa-Quecy Adu, commended the ministry for creating an enabling environment to interact with student bodies in the quest to address their concerns and strengthen relationship.

He suggested to the ministry to come out with a broader policy and interventions to address graduate unemployment as well as create a proper link between tertiary education and industry.

Mr. Adu urged the ministry to put in measures to regulate high tuition fees in tertiary institutions particularly in private institutions.


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