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09.06.2004 General News

Polytechnic students to boycott lectures

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Accra, June 9, GNA - Higher National Diploma (HND) students of the country's Polytechnics have resolved to boycott lectures indefinitely until an amicable solution is found to the problem of their job placement.

This they contended was because the HND graduates were not accorded the status commensurate with their training.

Mr Frank Kwansah, President of the Ghana National Union of Polytechnic Students (GNUPS), who addressed a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, said the situation on the ground was that of despair and frustration.

The status of the HND holder needs to be clearly defined to avoid further doubt and ambiguities in the system.

He noted that the Union had not been pleased with the slow pace the negotiations had so far been carried out adding that after 49 meetings no solution had been found.

The GNUPS said all they were asking for was that the HND graduate should be placed at the management trainee level with not more than one increment credit between HND and other tertiary programme like the first degree.

They further proposed that HND should not be placed at par with non-tertiary diploma, which are run for two years. Mr Kwansah said the Union wondered why so much respect and recognition was attached to the HND holders from countries including South Africa, United Kingdom and Nigeria while in Ghana it had been devalued.

He noted that students were prepared to boycott lectures because the situation was deteriorating adding: "If we have to sit at home and have things corrected so be it."

GNUPS said the Government's white paper on tertiary education system, which came into effect in 1997 stated that programmes and courses to be offered at the Higher Middle Level of technician training leading to the award of HND was equivalent to the first degree.

He said it took the HND graduate between six to 24 years to catch up with degree holders in some organizations including the Ghana Education Service, Tema Oil Refinery and the Police Service, Customs, Excise Preventive Service, VAT and the Internal Revenue Service.

This GNUPS said was disheartening because HND graduates had demonstrated to many employers that they were formidable and competent workforce.

"Progress made at the negotiating table would inform us when to resume lectures," he said. 09 June 04

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