The National Union of Ghana Students yesterday had their 51st Handing Over ceremony at the Accra International Conference Centre after the 51st Annual Residential Congress held at Methodist University College, Dansoman Campus.
This ceremony saw major stakeholders, alumni and dignitaries attending not forgetting the very students the union seek to serve.
The ceremony saw the likes of the Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Adutwum, the Gender and Social Protection Minister, Otiko Afisa Djaba, the Executive Director of the National Service Scheme, Mustapha Ussif, the CEO of NEIP, Lawyer John Kumah, Justin Kodua of YEA, Director of GETFund, representatives from the Scholarship Secretariat, Students Loan Trust Fund, Information Ministry, Security services, the press corps, alumni of the union, and members from the various institutions and blocs under NUGS under the chairmanship of the CEO of NEIP, Lawyer John Kumah.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy Education Minister together with the Gender and Social Protection Minister charged the union along the same lines: the union must stand for what it stood for and be more vibrant as it was in the past and ensure that the union serves its core mandate to the very people they seek to serve. The outgoing Secretary, Mr. Akwasi Agyemang also charged New executives to serve the interests of the students they seek to serve and ensure that the right things are done. He added that, the struggle continues but it is up to new executives to live above the struggles and make the union better.
The newly sworn-in President, Mr. Elisha Oheneba Essumang commended Government’s efforts in ensuring that education is accessible to all. He further reiterated that, the union’s core mandate is to ensure that education be a right and not a privilege to help all have access to it and was therefore grateful that the government was committed to ensuring that this is achieved. He commended the government over their decision to absorb the registration fees of BECE candidates in the Junior High Schools. He further commended the government for their decision to increase the Capitation grant by 100% from the initial 4.50p to 9 cedis as announced by the Finance Minister, Hon. Ken Ofori Atta in the 2018 budget statement.
The union led by the President also commended the Ministry of Education’s ” Basic Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (BSTEM)” program to be introduced in all basic schools which would solve the technological and digital gap between Ghana and the developed states in the near future which they intend to embark on beginning from next year and further welcomed the Ministry’s commencement to review the Basic level Curriculum to emphasize on the 4 R’s (Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic and cReativity). Indeed, literacy, numeracy and creativity are the bedrocks of modern education and we cannot survive as a nation without them.
The union further commended the government for the all time best Educational Policy; Free SHS Policy which has not only increased the enrolment of students into the various SHS but also lessened the burden of parents who sometimes had to go for loans and pass through frustrating moments to send their wards to school. We commend the Ministry of Education for this life saving and enhancing policy and the union supports the call by some concerned citizens and leaders of the nation to challenge philanthropists of Education, donors, corporate bodies, and everyone who can to help fund the Free SHS/ TVET policy and that a realistic percentage of our GDP, 10% of import taxes and about 30-50% of oil revenue be considered to help sustain this great policy.
While keeping our eyes on this outstanding initiative by the government of Ghana to ensure its sustainability and the help deal with the challenges it comes with-there is nothing without challenges especially in its early stages, we as the union that speaks for All students want to also send a note of caution to all saboteurs of this marvellous policy to refrain from such habits. The students of Ghana and the youth alike will not take it easy with any person or group of persons who would want to belittle, fight or destroy this all- time important policy. Without mincing words, we shall not hesitate to clamp down such enemies and foes of the nation.
The union also commends government’s effort to scrap off the 25% corporate income tax paid by privately owned and managed universities and we call on the stakeholders of the various private universities to drastically reduce their fees to reflect the change. We further commend the restoration of the Nurses and Teacher Training allowances by the government.