THE POLICE in Bolgatanga last Friday arrested twenty students of Bolgatanga Technical Institute (BOTECH) after hundreds of the students embarked on a peaceful match to register their displeasure over multiple concerns hampering their academic work including the lack of a substantive principal since May 2018.
Since the retirement of Thomas Mbare as principal of BOTECH in May this year, the institute is yet to get a substantive principal. This, the students claimed has made things difficult for them to have their grievances such as inadequate water supply, lack of a school bus among other concerns addressed.
In their attempts to seek redress to their challenges, the students matched to the regional education directorate where they presented their grievances to Upper East Regional Director of Education, Augustine Ayirezang, who also doubles as the acting principal of the institute.
The students also claimed they had paid for some students’ mattresses and Identification Cards but management of the school has not delivered those items to them.
After he listened to the aggrieved students, Mr. Ayirezang described their concerns as genuine and promised they will be attended to in the coming weeks. Addressing the issues one by one, the director said: “For the water, the contractor who has been asked to add more boreholes to your school’s borehole system, I have spoken to him and the consultant, not today, I haven’t spoken to him long ago, and he promised he is going to put a booster that will send the water to the tanks to distribute to your dormitories. The toilets, it’s the same thing – it’s because the water is not flowing, that’s why the toilets are not working and he has promised to put the booster to be able to pump enough water for distribution. From here, I’m going to call him and report to the regional minister so that we will take the contractor on to finish the toilets and the water, today, tomorrow so that you don’t suffer these issues again.”
Touching on the school bus, the director explained that the school bus was recently involved in an accident when it was transporting some athletes to the southern part of Ghana for a sports programme. He however, disclosed that he had sent a driver to bring the bus for repairs and that also will be done in the coming weeks. He also disclosed that another bus was given to the institute by the Local Government which will soon be brought to the school. “So I’m assuring you that the two buses will soon be in the school campus.” Mr. Ayirezang, said.
On the mattresses and ID cards, the director told the students he will meet with the management of the school and have them addressed.
After his address to the students, Mr. Ayirezang asked the students to return to the school as he said he was to follow up to the school immediately for their concerns to be looked at.
While the students were returning to the school, the police, who had apparently gotten hint of the students’ match, arrived around the ministries and arrested some of the students. This action by the police provoked the students who mobilised and headed to the Bolgatanga Municipal Police Station where their colleagues had been taken to, demand their release. But as was expected, the police resisted by firing warning shot to ward off the angry students. In the process, more students were arrested, bringing the number of arrested students to 20.
A source at the school told The Chronicle, a crunch meeting composing of Regional and Municipal GES Directors, Bolgatanga Municipal Chief Executive and the Municipal Police Commander was held at the school to try and resolve the matter. This later followed with the release of all the 20 students in the evening of Friday November 30 after the police had taken caution statements of the students.