More than 6000 students at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST, have been forced to defer their courses of study, due to late payment of fees.
This follows earlier warnings by university authorities that students who fail to pay at least 70% of their fees by last Thursday, cannot take part in the upcoming examination.
The Student Representative Council has confirmed over 300 complaints from students potentially affected by this directive.
KNUST SRC President, Michael Abuah attributed the situation to the non-payment of the government loan fund.
“Unlike last year the students were allowed to register for their courses and pay 70% of their fees to avoid being deferred… Even we had to gather some funds to help these students but I think the government loan system could have solved this problem and that has not been paid for the past two years, but we are engaging management for some positive news”, he said.
Abuah in an interview with Accra-based Asaase Radio, also indicated that his office is in touch with university authorities to get the deadline extended.
But it appears that intervention yielded little results.
Checks on campus reveal that the students were allowed to take part in the mid-semester exams, which started on April 11. Others who still had arrears to cover were, after the first week of April, made to defer their courses.
Although 6,000 is a small proportion of the school’s 85,000 population, it is the first time such a huge number of students have been affected.
University authorities have justified their action, stressing that the affected students had been given enough room to settle their bills.
University Relations Officer at the KNUST, Dr. Norris Bekoe stated that the University’s action is in the right direction.
He noted that the issue of students not settling fees has persisted over the years; therefore, the need to “apply the fees policy this year which has been approved by the academic board and it is required that as an undergraduate student you must register your courses at the beginning of the semester and pay 70%.”
He said that the University has now “given a window from February through March and April” for students with arrears to pay.
According to him, some of the students have channeled their fees to other avenues to generate money.
“A number of students are playing games with the University. For example, they use their school fees to buy Uber; others are setting up bakeries…while others are using it for betting, and we have evidence,” he said.
But some of the affected students have launched a desperate appeal to university authorities to extend the period their bursaries and other scholarships had not taken effect.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES