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Opinions of Monday, 1 August 2011

Columnist: Arthur, Patrick Kobina

Forever Young - Too Young to be Responsible

*Forever Young - Too Young to be Responsible: It’s time for NUGS to escape
this mindset*


This piece is an effort to alert the current (year 2011) generation of
students to break away from this self-defeating mind-set that is setting our
country’s development backwards. This mindset of being too young to be
responsible, it’s always someone else’s duty to make sure the Ghanaian
student has everything for free. Your demonstrations, the street fights,
rain of insults on the university management does not do anything against
them in person, it is rather destroying the strong institution your children
should enjoy in the near future.

*Student culture of not caring for anyone or anything:*

Young people, student of today, you have to recognize the urgent need to
escape from this “self-defeating”, “self-destructive” culture and mindset.
You continue with this disruptive demonstrations and all you are doing in
the end is programming yourselves for an obvious future defeat. You are only
preparing for another generation of children of children because you
yourselves refused to grow up first before having them. If students of today
will recognize that it is only in taking absolute responsibility for the
well being and progress of our society that you will really embrace the joy
and opportunities of being young and energetic. Being young should be
synonymous with idealism, courage, compassion, consideration,
insightfulness, willingness to build a great future for the your own
children. This is better than destroying your future and that of your
children through distorted arguments and misguided demonstrations.

*National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) is getting it all twisted:*

What do you stand to gain from an education system that is affordable but
does not transform you well enough and make you a productive member of
society? Why do you prefer rooms meant for 3 people to be occupied by 12
students? Why should paying slightly higher fees that ensures a descent and
comfortable life for you on campus be so unacceptable to you? Why should you
then readily accept illegal selling of beds by you own fellow students for
double the price you are now refusing to pay? Many students who were caught
this act have been sanctioned by the University management, not less than 10
students in this past academic year alone at Legon. By protesting the slight
increase fees and fighting the University management, students are sadly
displaying a grave back of willingness to be responsible for the society
they leave in. Fees are increased mainly to cover the cost of service
provided, if the service can be offered for a lower price there will be
demonstrations now. The university management would have loved this peaceful
situation to exist, but they cannot afford the huge price society will pay
later for not covering the cost of education now. The debt situation of Tema
Oil Refinery and the attendant fuel shortages and the near-collapse of Ghana
Commercial Bank is evidence enough for the youth of Ghana to appreciate the
value of covering the cost.

*Are they really paying too much for education?*

The level of fees students paid to access tertiary education in Ghana is
really low and affordable, it is so soo affordable that many students can
absent themselves from lectures most of the time. Not less that 30 % of
students on the campuses are habitual absentees, many even miss continuous
assessment test and this is not due to medical reasons. If they felt that
the high price their parent paid for them to finally arrive on campus was
too high, they will not miss an hour of a lecture. Imagine buying an airline
ticket to Los Angeles from Ghana and then asking to be returned to Ghana
hours after arrival because you do not like the way someone frowned at you?
This is the moral equivalent of what many students do on our campuses today,
and they can afford to do this because it does not cost them much to be
there. And they wonder why there are no job after graduation and why this
country is developing at such a slow pace? By the way do you know NUGS
people know how much most parents are now paying for kids to attend Nursery?
It’s 300-500 Gh Cedis per term, 900-1500 per year and you complain about
paying 800 Gh Cedis a year for University Education?

*Culture of Dependence from Cradle to Grave:*

Why should the student in New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Madrid, Geneva,
Amsterdam, split his/her time between studying and working part time to make
ends meet but the student in Accra should not and cannot? Here is Ghana, if
the student has no money to live on, he/she will call dad or mum or uncle or
brother then friends of daddy, then pastor, and the list is endless. Somehow
this cultural arrangement programs the young person of today to be
habitually dependent, to the extent that they preferred to use their spare
time to demonstrate or cheer for Chelsea versus Manchester all week. Then,
one day this dependent student becomes an office holder ( not leader of the
country oo!!!), he/she sees nothing wrong with producing a national budget
for the country Ghana which is 50% funded by donor’s money.

*The power of youth:*

Many children in Somalia today are too hungry to even cry and here we are
with talented and energetic band of youth (NUGS), whose only problem is
being asked to pay slightly more so that the condition they study in will be
more descent and comfortable. Instead of applauding the leadership that made
sure that at Legon today, and for the first time in 30 years or more, every
student who needs a room on campus can get one. Accommodation for lecturers
has not seen such great development and yet it is the same students who are
complaining, rather than asking for such great development to be extended to
their teachers, they are misapplying their energies protesting against their
good life. Let me acknowledge that, there are many diligent students who are
doing great for self and country but in times like these they do not show
through, but I wish they call their mates to order.

*Just Curious:*

Why is NUGS not demanding that the Government covers the increased cost for
the university to run properly? If the government decides that other things
are more important that your education, it takes a bold, audacious and
visionary University-Vice Chancellor to decide that the system cannot be
allowed to sink, no-way. And yes it’s easy for every Ghanaian to afford
these fees, if they will stop asking what “Their Country Can Do for Them”.

Patrick Kobina Arthur (PhD),