The Deputy Ranking Member of Parliament’s Education Committee, Dr Clement Apaak has said the 6,000 students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science Technology (KNUST) who had to defer their courses recently has nothing to do with using their school fees for betting or gambling.
Instead, the MP for Builsa South said the situation should be blamed on the hardship in the country which has resulted in parents finding it difficult to pay the fees of their wards in recent times.
The 6,000 students of the institution were deferred due to delays in payment of their fees. This was after the students could not pay their academic user fees, which had April 11, 2022, as the deadline.
Dr Daniel Norris Bekoe, the University Relations Officer, alleged that some of the affected students had invested their fees in ventures, including online taxi services, and gambling, among others, and were waiting to recoup their investments to pay the fees.
But speaking to Piesie Okrah on Dwaboase on TV XYZ Monday morning, Dr Apaak rubbished the claim of the school and argued that it cannot be that all the affected students used their fees to gamble.
“Where is the evidence that the students used their fees to gamble?“ he quizzed. “These days the hardship in the country is too much and parents cannot pay for their children’s school fees.“
To him, most students would not have been affected if the Akufo-Addo government had released funds for the Students Loans Trust Fund to cover most students in the country.
“For 2 years now, this government has not released funds for students to access as loans,“ he noted and blamed the government’s failure to lay the Students Loans Amendments Bill in Parliament on time.
“If you remember, the government brought a ‘no guarantor policy’. That policy had to be amended and for that matter, the government brought [to Parliament] the Students Loans Amendments Bill which wasn’t passed on time because the government did not bring it [to Parliament] on time,“ he explained.
Meanwhile, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has rescinded its decision to have fee-defaulting students defer their courses for the academic year.
The University Relations Officer (URO), Dr Daniel Norris Bekoe, disclosed that affected students will be given the opportunity to sit the end-of-semester exams once they pay up 70 per cent of their fees and re-register their courses.
“We [KNUST] are a human institution and we have been listening to the pleas of many stakeholders”, the University said.
“If a student pays up, management is ready to look at it. So, those who have paid 70 per cent have gone ahead to register for their courses. Definitely, we are not interested in getting students out of the university but we have bills to pay”, Dr Bekoe said.
Earlier, the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) and the Students Representative Council (SRC) of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science Technology (KNUST) said they were mobilising funds to pay the fees for 3,000 out of the 6,000 students deferred by the University for defaulting in fee payment.
Last week, Dennis Appiah Larbi, President of NUGS, said his outfit was mobilising to help the SRC pay for about 3,000 of them to make sure their deferment was reversed.