The Student Representative Council (SRC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on, Friday 7th March 2014 held a press conference to address the hike in accommodation prices on campus at the Great Hall conference room.
The SRC President, Caleb Fugah, welcomed all media men and students for honouring invitation. He then stated the purpose of the press conference which is to address the ever increasing cost of accommodation around campus. The council explained that due to the increasing number of students being admitted every year, the University has becoming incapable of housing all students and this has resulted in students seeking accommodation off campus. However, hostels managers have taken advantage of the high demand to exploit students financially. The SRC President also stated that the University has not done enough to arrest the situation though it is assisting the SRC to complete the final phase of the Otumfour Osei Tutu II hostel formerly the SRC Hostel. He said the University after constructing six the traditional halls, to accommodate students 45 years ago has not been able to provide any accommodation for the increasing number of students. The worst of the case was when the University adopted the in-out-out-out accommodation policy that bars continuing students from being accommodated in the halls.
He said the SRC as part of measures to address the situation on 5th February, 2014, came to a stern consensus with the hostel managers at West End Hostel and arrived at the following conclusion
A ‘Class A’ hostel (with generator, DSTV, security, inside bathroom, water, electricity and tiles) with four persons in a room ranges from Ghc600 to Ghc900
A ‘Class B’ hostel with four persons in a room ranges from Ghc600 to Ghc900
However, after inspecting the hostels with the help of the Ghana Tourist Board, the Ghana National Fire Service and KNUST security, they realised that 99% of the hostel fell under the class B category hence following deductions: 4 persons in a room should pay a maximum of Ghc750, Ghc900 for 3 in a room and Ghc1200 for 3 in a room.
Unfortunately, this is not the case in the hostels, the hostel owners have increased their prices without any justifiable improvements in their infrastructure and amenities. He sighted that a hostel which was charging Ghc1000 for 2-in-a-room last year is shockingly demanding a whopping Ghc1900 for the same service.
In view of the above reasons, the SRC made the following demands
That all stakeholders, the University and hostel managements review the prices of their hostels to match up with the prices agreed on.
That the University authorities include the issue of accommodation in their next 10 year strategic plan called the 2k24
That the government and the University build more hostels to accommodate the ever increasing KNUST student populace
That the Dean of students enforces the rules and regulations concerning hostels within the university’s surroundings and help eliminate issues of third party agents
That the government provides a specialized body to solely regulate the activities of hostels and also create tax exemptions for the hostels.
That the Chancellor, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II, King of the land intervenes on behalf of students.
The SRC categorically put it on record that their initial plan on going on a demonstration against the unfair treatment has not been abandoned and will pursue it if all demands are not met by 20th March 2014.