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18.08.2005 Press Review

EDITORIAL: Reverse Discrimination in Our Universities


The reopening of schools often bring with it, weeping and gnashing of teeth in some households. Fortunately for us, some reliefs in the form of loans have been introduced into the system to mitigate the immediate impact of the various fees charged.

Notwithstanding these mitigating factors, the undue focus of the university administrations on commercialization, as well as the introduction of various levies at various departments on our campuses, have added to the burdens of students and parents.

The various student leadership, from the departmental level to the Students Representative Council (SRC) levels, have for a long time, never been accountable for their stewardship in the administration of the funds generated through the dues they collect.

This cannot be dismissed lightly as a problem best left for students to handle at their level. This is simply because the payment of these dues have invariably been incorporated into the registration process, such that students are compelled to pay these dues for uses that are not clearly defined.

Beside, if at the level of our universities, our prospective national leaders are engrossed in exploitative pursuits and are not able to account properly for funds, where is the hope of saving this country, nay the continent from the scourge of irresponsible leadership, which has plagued Africa as a whole, and explains in part, if not in the main, the woes of the continent, and specifically, our dear country?

The news that the Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Prof. K. Andam has stepped in to halt some illegal charges by the student leadership, is therefore refreshing.

The Chronicle welcomes the reported action of the KNUST Vice-Chancellor, because the authorities of our tertiary institutions, and for that matter, university authorities throughout the country owe it as a responsibility, to monitor, supervise and protect students on the campuses.

Whereas it cannot be denied that our institutions of higher learning need a lot of financial, human and logistical resources to carry out effectively and efficiently the goal of teaching and learning, the general accessibility of such institutions is also critical.

Therefore, when admission is consistently being directed to the disadvantage of ordinary people, especially in relation to some specific courses, where the general aptitude process for admission is set aside, it raises questions.

Today, whilst the population of students admitted into the university is making it impossible to offer many of them the courses of their choice, students who are willing to pay very high fees are admitted into any course of their choice, notwithstanding the quality of their pass marks.

It is therefore common today that the threshold for admission into areas like medicine and other courses in science as well as administration are becoming more for sale.

This phenomenon is taking place at the graduate level also, where at times, over sixty percent of students who are short-listed for interviews after passing an entrance examination, are rejected, whilst others not short-listed and who may not have passed or worse still, taken part in the examination at all, are offered the places available.

As we have stated earlier above, we support the need to resource the tertiary institutions, but we must not do that through reverse discrimination.