Choice is important as it gives evidence of consent from individuals. This is not different when it comes to school selection in Ghana. From the second circle institutions thus senior high level, pupils make choice as to the kind of school they want to attend. The Basic Education Certificate Examination grade system is one major criterial that determines one’s qualification to a secondary school. Obviously, not all can be admitted into category A, B, and C school. It is prudent that invariably the grade system is used to get somehow fair means of entry into senior high school.

Economists will attest to the fact that when it comes to choices, if you don’t hold all other things constant, you will be surprised to witness the variation and what determines or informs an individual’s preference. The preference for Male, Female, or Mixed schools is not too far from this discourse. Students aside from getting good grades have their own preferences with respect to the gender policy of a school. Freedom of Choice is an integral part of our natural and fundamental human rights. The quality of such right can only exist if we have numerous options to choose from. When the options are limited, it translates to individuals having no choice to make at all. When one has more options at his disposal, he tends to become better off. It is significant for students to have more options from which they can choose. Whether one wants to attend single-sex (Male or Female) or mixed-sex (Male and Female) schools.

In contemporary times, the Management of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has awakened a long-standing tension on the conversion of the only two Male Halls on campus, that is Unity Hall (Conti) and University Hall (Katanga) to mixed-sex halls. This decision has faced strong opposition from the executives of both halls. It is on record that there is even a filed case at the law court of Ghana to seek proper redress on the decision. As an individual and a lover of freedom, anytime choice is limited it makes me worried. Students’ right to choose according to their preference is ultimate. The decision on the conversion of these reputable Male Halls in KNUST will limit individual rights or freedom.

Assuming the University Management succeeds in making such a decision, it has the tendency of endangering all Male Halls in Ghana. The success of this decision can become a cliché or a reference point for all other institutions in Ghana to imitate on various tertiary campuses. Not Long ago, Independence Hall (KNUST) and Mensah Serbah Hall (University of Ghana) which used to be Male Halls were converted to mixed. Today, the call for conversion has fallen on Conti and Katanga, I am still assuming, in the near future which hall will it fall on. As students we should not wait, for the future is now, to kick against this conversion of male halls at every level. It will surprise you but the conversion of Male halls can trickle down and have multiplier effect even on our secondary schools. Should the Accra Academy, Adisadel College, Bishop Herman College, Ghana Senior High Technical School, Kumasi High School, Opoku Ware School, Prempeh College, Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School, Tarkwa Senior High School, St. Augustine’s College, St. Peter’s Boys Senior High School, St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High, Pope John’s, the list is endless, be converted to mixed-sex school in the name of increasing female population in school? Certainly not.

I am certain that, there are more panaceas to consider if we really want to increase the female population in the KNUST. First, KNUST management can outline creative and innovative teaching and learning methodology that will first of all allow our female students to excel in the West Africa Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Since WASSCE is the minimum requirement for admission into KNUST and all Universities in Ghana. Currently, there is an existing alarming percentage of failed results in the 2018 WASSCE, especially in Science and Mathematics. Lastly, university management can expand the infrastructural base and build more female halls and even mixed halls to achieve their objective. Issues must be tackled at the core to prevent unnecessary reoccurrences.

The obvious but hidden agenda is to curb students’ activism on campus. Male halls, aside from the unwanted clashes and battle for supremacy which is needless and has ended members in fatal injuries and eventually rustication, are one major source of activism. I was very delighted to be part of the conference, in my capacity as the programs manager for YAFO, which took place at the Accra Technical University on 20th July 2018 with sought to bring all Male Halls in Ghana under one Umbrella Association and channel their difference and rivalry in unison towards the course that will champion activism and better the welfare of students on campus. Every student’s activism in KNUST begins with these reputable Male halls, in 2016 University Hall (Katanga) and Unity Hall (hall) contributed their quota in demonstrating against payment of utility bills by students. A move to make these halls mixed is also a move to waken students’ activism, especially in these times when some students organization like the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) and Students Representative Council (SRC) have become political tools, bureaucratic to student problem and used as university management relation officers. It is my prayer that these student organizations revisit the purpose of their establishment.

In conclusion, I urge the hall executives of Katanga and Conti to hold firm on their displeasure for such conversion and follow due processes for a favorable decision to enhance individual freedom of choice and activism that will prevent the establishment of academic tyrants. All male halls in Ghana have thrown their huge support because they foresee an action that endangers their existence in the near future, the boys’ secondary schools can do same. It’s not also too late for student organizations like the SRC and NUGS to join the discourse in curtailing the decision on the conversion of Male Halls in KNUST from seeing the daylight. I am forever a proud fellow.

Article by Nathaniel Dwamena

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