Students of the Ghana School of Hygiene, today, August 17, 2020 converged on the premises of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to demonstrate over what they see as government's discrimination against them in the payment of student's allowances.
For three years their allowances have been outstanding, and they fear it has been scrapped without reason but the same Akufo-Addo government, has been paying their colleague nursing trainees.
The students started arriving at the ministry by 5:30 am. It was a sequel to a similar one held about two weeks ago, by the final-year students who on Thursday, 6 August 2020 over the same grievances.
According to the students, their allowances have been completely scrapped without reason despite the government restoring allowances for other nursing students, adding that, though they are the highest fee-paying nursing school, they receive no money from the government.
To top it all, they get sacked over unpaid fees.
These have left them with no other option than to take action.
On Tuesday, 21 July 2020, Class News' reported that the students had boycotted their final exam for the same reason.
A section of the students bemoaned their current situation, posing questions as to why they have been left out.
The students demanded the financial clearance due them, an extension of their final-year examination (which they boycotted earlier) and also that school fees defaulters be allowed to sit the examination since the government owes them.
One of them said that President Akufo-Addo made them a promise during his campaign prior to the 2016 elections, "to pay the allowance" and "give special treatment to students of the School of Hygiene."
He said: "This time around, we need to get our money. We are receiving our money because it is due time for us to receive the money. We are beneficiaries, so, why are they doing this to us? When the President restored the allowances, even before the president came to power, it was at the School of Hygiene forecourt that he promised that he was going to pay the allowance and that he was going to give special treatment to students of schools of hygiene. Is this the special treatment?"
Another student, who had resolved to sleep at the premises of the Sanitation Ministry until attention is given to them, questioned the whereabouts of a supposed amount of money that was initially allocated to them because their details were taken as beneficiaries.
"I wouldn't have been here if I am not determined to sleep here. One thing I want to ask the government and the Ministry is, during the launch of this allowance, the President allocated some amount to be paid to us. I think it is GHS232 million. Where is our share of that money?" she quizzed.
In an interview with Citi News, the Student Representative Council (SRC) President of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital School of Hygiene, Freeheart Owusu Ampomah, accused both ministries of toying with them in order to buy time until elections are over.
"The last time we picketed at the Ministry of Sanitation, they assured us that the matter is on the desk and they were working on it. So, it is contradictory for them to tell us this now."
"This means both ministries were being political. They were lying to us. Now we have to go back to them and demand our financial clearance," he said.
Earlier this month, the leadership of the Coalition of Schools of Hygiene students announced that its members will not sit for the end of semester examination meant for final year students until their three-year locked-up allowances are paid.
The final year students on Thursday, August 6, were at the premises of the Sanitation Ministry to picket and convey their discontent.
The leadership of the Coalition of Schools of Hygiene students says its members will not sit for the end of semester examination meant for final year students until their three-year locked-up allowances are paid.
The final year students on Thursday August 6 invaded the premises of the Sanitation Ministry to picket over government's failure to pay them their allowances.
The students argue that their allowances have been completely scrapped without reason although government has restored the allowances of their colleague nursing trainees.
The National Vice President of the Coalition, Kenneth Adongo says until they receive the funds they will not make themselves available for the exit exams.
"We are indicating that without the allowance we will not write the exam. This will be until we receive the allowance."
Students of Schools of Hygiene were not included in the categories of trainees who had their monthly allowances from the government restored.
The situation saw the Principal of the School of Hygiene at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Mr Raphael Komla Nutsukpui in 2018 calling on the government to restore the allowances of the trainees.
In 2017, about 200 students of the School of Hygiene staged a demonstration on some principal streets in Accra to demand the restoration of their allowances.
The demonstration, which began from the Obra spot at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, ended at the Hearts of Oak Park near the Arts Centre.
"The government said they will restore the allowances, but it seems it was just a partial restoration. The schools around Korle Bu have received theirs, but students from Accra School of Hygiene, Ho School of Hygiene, Tamale School of Hygiene, none of us has received anything. There are those who have received the allowances for two times, and they will soon receive a third one, but it seems the government has neglected those of us from the various schools of hygiene," one of the students lamented.
Another student bemoaned the delay in restoring their allowances, saying "our allowances should be given to us, why are you [government] neglecting us?"
"We want our money, Nana wants to deceive us. We will not rest until we receive our money," one of the students stated.