I was admitted into KNUST to read Doctor of Optometry, not too young I would say. I was an averagely experienced person, knowing little about student issues, governance, and activism. I discovered it was something I was passionate about.
I had come to realize that being in KNUST and involving yourself in student leadership was one of the best decisions one could make. It fulfilled all my aspirations to be apart of making big decisions that would positively impact the lives of many. As challenging as it sounds, this is the place you will learn to be firm, proactive, and also assertive.
Having close to 80 student associations on campus, I can say the university populace recognized our leadership and we’ve been warmly absorbed into the governance structure of the school.
In this light, my 4 years in KNUST has seen most of these associations do a lot in the interest of students. The errands our leaders embark on, the academic projects, activism, joyous entertainments, innovative Tratech ideas, welfare packages, and educative programs are steps in the right direction. I must say kudos!
There have been several challenges that beset us and take us through rather confusing moments, but in it, all, I and many others haven’t lost hope and direction. We have and continue to work regardless of the struggles before us, in order to DEFY THE ODDS!
In recent times, students have persistently vented out complaints concerning refunds of payments they’ve made within the academic year. Although this doesn’t give us a clear picture of the exact economic status of our people, it gives us a fair idea of the economic impediments this pandemic has caused.
COVID-19 has not only caused havoc to the entire globe but has, in turn, disrupted our normal cycle, nature, and standards of living. Several countries have sought help from the International Monetary Fund-IMF for aids to fight the virus and sustain their economies, which believe it or not, turns out to be the economic twist within various affected countries.
Stimulus packages, relief items, and education on the virus has been put in place for the restoration of life and standards of the people.
I understand the decisions that come to the desk of a leader precisely, the president of associations and councils are the difficult ones to make. Nonetheless, we are the pacesetters. Definitely, life after this pandemic will not be normal. Observing the economic impact and the possible urgent need for electronic devices during and after the pandemic for academic work, one can tell with certainty that most of our students are being affected, giving their families and breadwinners all the more challenge to make ends meet.
In our regular academic year, there is a lot we pay as association dues at about GHc120 in general for the activities of these associations, leaving compulsory 25% of that for the next government. This is the time to show the humanitarian and statesmanship we all have within.
Leaving balances in covers won’t be the best; it is appropriate that current executives with the mandate of jurisdiction take cause in the setup of support schemes.
Unused dues of associations should be channeled into Stimulus Welfare packages for students later upon resumption. This is the time we need to be generational thinkers! We need to take this cause of action to enable the subsequent advocacy for compensations from the school that is of school doesn’t resume.
We are heroes when our students are safe and healthy.
Concluding, this piece reminds me of the old Ghanaian saying “one head does not hold a council”. Together we can make this work and set examples to advocate for more from the university.
Every leader must uphold this.
I believe in overcoming challenges and my name is Samuel Sesah.
-Defy the Odds, 2020.
Samuel Sesah is a 4th year Doctor of Optometry student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.