The Deputy Chief of Staff and Political Assistant to the President, Francis Asenso-Boakye has reaffirmed the government’s position against the conversion of some traditional halls of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) into mixed halls.
Addressing members of KNUST branch of the Tertiary Institution Confederacy of the NPP (TESCON) during their homecoming event over the weekend, the Deputy Chief of Staff indicated strongly that the government does not support the conversion of Unity Hall and University Hall (Kantanga) by the University Council.
His remarks follow some misgivings expressed by the some students of the Unity Hall during the KNUST- TESCON Homecoming event, asking the University Council to reconsider the conversion of the two Halls of residence into all-male halls.
The University Council, at the beginning of the 2018/2019 academic year, converted Kantaga Hall, alongside Unity Hall, which were all-male halls and Queen Elizabeth Hall, which was an exclusive female residence into mixed halls.
The authorities said the reason for converting all the halls to unisex was to create space for females amid growing population.
The decision was however, received with grudge by residents and alumni of the all-male halls, many of whom staged multiple protest marches.
Some alumni also dragged the university to court. The protestors claimed the single-sex status of the halls is a tradition and must not be altered.
Failure on the part of the University Council to consider the suggestions of the opponents led to a violent protest in September 2018 by the aggrieved students, resulting in the destruction of properties estimated at GH¢1.7 million.
Following renewed agitations by the aggrieved students at the beginning of the 2019/2020 academic year, Government, in September this year, urged the University Council to reconsider its decision to convert the aforementioned halls into mixed halls.
Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh in a letter to the Chairman of the University Council explained that the move was “to preserve a peaceful and conducive environment for academic work and cordial relationship in the University.”
The Management of the University had earlier called for calm, assuring that the University’s Chancellor was studying a report presented by a Committee that investigated the matter to inform its decision.
Mr Asenso-Boakye urged the TESCON members to uphold the principles of sacrifice, service and patriotism in their quest to take up leadership positions in future and contribute to national development.
Describing the members as the future of the party, he encouraged them take advantage of the opportunities offered by the group as the platform has produced many distinguished political leaders including, Mr. Isaac Asiamah (Minister for Youth & Sports); Charles Owiredu ( Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs); and Martin Agyei-Mensah Korsah(Deputy Minister for Regional Reorganization& Development).
He also encouraged TESCON members to rally behind the party to win the 2020 elections for the transformation of the country.