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26.01.2005 General News

Veep welcomes students' decision to dialogue

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Accra, Jan. 26, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama on Wednesday welcomed the resolve of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) to focus on dialogue as the main mode of addressing students' concerns, saying it was the most progressive means of achieving results.

He, therefore, advised them to use due process in their institutions and the Ministry of Education to get their problems solved. The Vice President gave the advice when he met the Executives of NUGS, who called on him at the Castle, Osu.

"We appreciate your position to 'jaw-jaw instead of war' because we consider you as our future leaders and it is our determination to assist you in every possible way so that you would be able to graduate successfully to be able to effectively take over from us," he said.

Led by their President Mr Abubakar Forgor the students expressed their commitment to use strike actions only when the channels of dialogue failed and congratulated the Government for the provision of infrastructure on campus and urged it to do more.

They appealed to the Government to intervene on their behalf and get the Association of Vice Chancellors of Ghana to reconsider its decision to increase the academic facility user fees by 20 per cent this year and to graduate the increment in fees over the next 20 years.

They also asked the Government to assist them to acquire a permanent secretariat and a bus, among other things. Vice President Mahama said the Government would work with the Ministry of Education, University Authorities and other relevant bodies to meet their demands.

He stressed the need for them to primarily present their grievances to the relevant authorities before seeking Government intervention, explaining that it was important to consider the views of the relevant institutions to achieve permanent solutions.

The Vice President commended the students for their plans to establish education clinics to assist remedial students, saying it was a step in the right direction.

He asked them not to only assist and counsel them to get admission into the universities but to also seek opportunities outside, saying successful and productive lives could also be developed outside the universities.

Alhaji Aliu said he was also happy that the students wanted to champion the Campaign for Greater Discipline, and that the secretariat would partner them to work effectively.

Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Acting Minister of Education, advised the students to set up a financial aid unit that would strategise to secure financial aid to assist needy students.

He also advised them to work towards the elimination of examination malpractice.

"Life is full of examinations," he said. "If you decide to cheat in school examinations you would find it difficult to pass life's numerous exams."

The Vice President also met the executives of the Graduate Students Association of Ghana led by Nana Kwaku Asiedu.

The Vice President, who is a patron of the Association, said the Government would collaborate with other stakeholders to address their problems of office accommodation, bursaries and grant.

He, however, told them to work out pragmatic strategic plans towards the solution.

Ms Elizabeth Ohene, Acting Minister of State responsible for Tertiary Education, was at the meetings.

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