UTAG strike: Closure of universities after 21 days is not supported by law, but an economic decision – Prof. Awandare

The Pro-Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs of the University of Ghana (Pro VC ASA), Prof. Gordon Awandare has said that the law requires universities in the country to close 21 days after no academic work.

According to him, such a decision is motivated by economics because special attention is paid to the cost of the institution for the smooth running of the university.

He explained that providing students with social amenities such as electricity, water, while academic work is interrupted will have long-term financial implications on the university.

“I don’t think it’s a law. It’s more of a practical decision in terms of economy.

“If you have students on campus who are using electricity, water, spending money, putting pressure on the facility, and nothing is happening in terms of classroom work, then at some point , you have to cut your losses and say, let’s take a break, everyone go home and relax, then when the problem is solved, come back,” Professor Awandare said in an interview on Campus Exclusive.

According to him, “it is more an economic decision that universities normally take than if after three weeks there is no sign of a breakthrough then you are thinking of closing the University”.

The clarification comes at a time when many fear tertiary institutions may be closed as the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has been on strike for more than three weeks over its terms of service.

On January 10, university professors withdrew their services and ignored any instructions to return to their jobs.

The National Labor Commission took UTAG to court but the Association did not budge.

According to JoyNews reports, students are leaving different campuses to return home.

Meanwhile, Prof Awandare says the management of the University of Ghana has not considered closing the school as the strike persists.

According to him, the university management hopes for a resolution.

“We haven’t started talking about closure because we’re hopeful that something good will happen. I can assure you that we did not discuss any stoppages,” Prof Awandare said.

On the other hand, the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) has said it will stage a series of protests if university professors do not call off their strike this week.

USAG President Dr. Phillip Armah said the apparent lack of communication between university authorities and the government about the strike is concerning as the situation has forced many students to return home.

“If we don’t hear anything positive this week, if that will lead us to organize a series of demonstrations on our campuses, we will not hesitate to do so. Anyone who needs to listen must listen. We have paid fees and we demand to be educated.