Colleges of Education turn ‘business’ centre as strike drags on

Stranded students of the Tamale and Bagabaga colleges of education in the northern regional capital are worried about the future of their college education following a nationwide strike by members of the College of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG), which is stretching into its fourth week with no sign of resolution.

The students are increasingly concerned about how they will be able to complete their semester after already a month delayed resumption and now stuck in the middle of a total shutdown of academic activities.

There is currently mounting frustrations among the students who are asking tons of questions, including how their courses maybe condensed once the strikes ends, as they have already spent almost half of the semester without a single classroom work.

Their teachers, members of the College of Education Teachers Association of Ghana, since October 29, walked off the job to demand payment of market premiums, book and research allowance after negotiations with government couldn’t reach a tentative deal.

Students in all the 38 colleges in the country have since been left on campuses without any form of information about the ongoing strike and measures for their safety. Several of them continue to pack out whiles others still remain, waiting for definitive orders from schools authority.

Student leaders now say, they’re increasingly insecure as their teachers have not only abandoned lecture halls but also their responsibilities of ensuring students safety on campus.

The Vice Women Commissioner of the Bagabaga College of Education, Mahama Mariah Rubaba said, their campus has now been turned into a busy commercial hub “for chasing women”.

According to her, teachers whose mandate it’s to provide security on campus and oversee monitoring of students have evacuated from the campus, leaving them at the mercy of outsiders having unimpeded access to every part of the school.

She disclosed that these outsiders were exploiting some of the young ladies, using the hardships they are facing due to the strike action by the teachers. She also said, majority of the ladies haven’t been sleeping in the hostel and could not be traced for weeks, though their luggage are still standing in the school.

“Things are not that okay nowadays, when you are coming, the little that your parents would give you is what you have to rely on and because of that I know that’s why they like following these men, but some of them are really hungry. Because of this strike, our parents know that we are in school but I can tell you that, the number of ladies here is not our number. Some are not on campus at all, for weeks, and they are not home too, so only God knows where they are and what they are doing,” the women’s commissioner said.

Commissioner Mariah also said all their resources, especially monies they brought to purchase handouts, have been spent on feeding themselves and that she has advised all the ladies to go home on Friday if their teachers refused to call off the strike.

Her counterpart at the Tamale College of Education, Yakubu Rahmatu expressed similar sentiment and called for government’s immediate intervention.

She said they’re still not getting satisfying answers about what the strike will mean for their academic year. Rahamatu is worried the school year maybe extended, which would increase their expenses and affect job plans.

According to her, the ongoing strike is increasing immorality on campus as some of the young ladies coming from far distances, are now engaging in all sort of habits to keep staying on campus. Others are relying on men to survive, she adds.

“Because they are not going to class, they have consumed all the monies and since they are not going to class, they have all day to go out and do other stuff, so it exposed them to that kind of boy – girl relationship which they go there to rely for money.”

“We are just appealing to the government to give our teachers their due allowances so that as a matter of time they would come back and continue with tuition. I think when they come, they are going to regulate the movements of students on campus; in absence of the masters, because we are mere leaders and ladies like them, it’s sometimes difficult to control them”.

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