Students of the University of Ghana have given management of the university as well as government a one-week ultimatum to completely halt planned privatization of some four halls of residence in the school.
Authorities of the university have decided to hand over the operation of these halls to private individuals to enable them generate extra revenue to offset an over ten-year-old loan it secured for the construction of the said halls; a move the students are fiercely resisting.
This implies that the students will be paying more to occupy such halls.
The University, having incurred a judgement debt of 528 million cedis for failing to service a 43 million cedi loan it secured for the construction of the halls, has up to the end of May 2019 to make a good faith deposit of 50 million Ghana Cedis or risk losing control of the affected halls.
At a press conference, the SRC asked the appropriate stakeholders to intervene or incur their wrath.
Sylvester Owusu Amoako, SRC President of the University of Ghana, said students cannot afford the residential fee that will be imposed on them following the privatization of the halls.
“The prices, as compared to other halls, is expensive, we cannot afford it. We are calling for a round table discussion with the university management, the Ministry of Education and the government of Ghana must intervene in this matter. We are giving an ultimatum to have the round table discussion. I believe that after one week if we don’t get a round table discussion, then its en route to the registry and from there en route to the Flagstaff house,” he said.
The UGEL halls
With less than 40 percent of the entire student’s body residing on campus due to limited space, these halls of residence were constructed in 2010 to ease the accommodation deficit.
They were initially expected to be pegged at a commercial price, a decision the students vehemently opposed.
The then President, the Late Prof. John Atta Mills intervened to offset the loan on behalf of management, a promise that has not been fulfilled till date.
While the management continues to address accommodation challenges on campus, the privatization of these halls may come as a big blow to students.
The 43 million Ghana cedis loan facility government contracted from a consortium of six banks and released in three tranches has now accumulated due to interests and other charges which have accrued over the last 10 years.