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General News of Wednesday, 30 July 2003

Source: GNA

NUGS threatens strike action

Accra, July 30, GNA- The National Union of Ghana Students(NUGS) on Wednesday threatened to go on nation-wide strike if government still maintains the 50 percent increase in fees charged in tertiary institutions by August 18.

NUGS noted that with the recent 100 percent increase in fuel price ,300 per cent hike in electricity and water and other domestic user bills, parents could not shoulder a 50 percent escalation in school fees. Mr. Edward Omane Boamah, President of NUGS told a press conference in Accra that education was a right and therefore any attempt to shift the full cost on students meant depriving the less privileged in the society.

He said better grades are being sacrificed for money since an avenue had been created to admit foreign and Ghanaians, who could pay 20 million cedis into the tertiary institutions to the disadvantage of individuals with good grades but are financially handicapped.

Mr. Boamah therefore, called on the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to oppose steps to increase fees of workers studying at the External Degree Centre, Legon, to 8 million cedis per year, commencing this year.

NUGS also alleged that out of the 477,000 students enrolled at the Central University College in 1998, only 281 graduated, while 196 abandoned the course because they could not afford the fees.

The Union accused government of breaching Section 4 (2) of the GETFund Act 581 of Parliament, by owing the Fund of 411.6 billion cedis. This, the Union asked the government to pay.

NUGS also expressed dissatisfaction at the speed at which government was working on the National Health Insurance Scheme and disregarding bills on traditional medicine that had vested extra powers in the health insurance council.