STUDENTS LEADERSHIP IN GHANA AND THE NEED TO REFORM OUR VISION FOR A CYNOSURE FUTURE.
(TEAM FORWARD TOGETHER)
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Student Unions and for that matter its leadership in Ghana dates back to the 1930s, at the formation of the Union of Gold Coast Students in West Africa, which originally started the struggle in the interest of students of the Gold Coast for an end to British colonial rule and the achievement of independence for the Gold Coast. This union later metamorphosed into what we know today as National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). The vision of NUGS, which is the mother union of all student unions in Ghana is to champion the interest (nothing else) of Ghanaian students. Other student unions operating in Ghana include but not limited to Trainee Teachers' Association of Ghana (TTAG), Ghana Union of Professional Students' (GUPS), University Students' Association of Ghana (USAG), Graduate Students' Association of Ghana (GRASAG), All African Students Union (AASU), Regional Student Representative Councils (RSRCs, at the SHS level), Private Universities Students' Association of Ghana (PUSAG). These unions form the blocs of NUGS with peculiar roles in fighting for the interest of their respective members. The emphasis of this article shall focus largely on NUGS which is the mother union of all the aforementioned unions/associations.

Historical facts teach of the advocacy roles played by the founding members of the Union of Gold Coast Students which later became National Union of Ghana Students'. With NUGS, the intellectual but radical struggles to shape and reshape government's educational policies to the benefit of the ordinary Ghana student has been well noted . It is thus justifiable to say that, the NUGS of then was a barking and biting one, mostly feared by any government that was in power. It is probably of these fears that the Nkrumah government called for the arrest and detention without trial of NUGS men like Professor Anselmus Kludze (NUGS President, 1962-1963), Mr. F.Y.I Fiagbe, Mr. Easmon and Mr. Kodwo Carr. Sadly, "the NUGS then, is not the NUGS we see today. NUGS no longer bites and even the barking has become a problem because of the polarization of our front" - George Sarpong (2012). The new students leadership that we all hope to have must necessarily reform itself to suit modern patterns of students centred advocacy. Our activism as students is being undermined, our student unions have many ills to right, many problems to solve. Indeed, our contrasting positions stem from political infiltration of our student unions, one whose outbreaks were instigated with the purpose of discrediting our unions. Citing Nkrumah's Africa Must Unite in my own suitable words, they gave the impression that our unions were/are not in control of the educational welfare of students in the country, that we were/are not capable of our own governance, that there was widespread discontent of these unions especially NUGS to which our umbilical cord is strongly tied to. These untruthfulness and narrow thoughts of some of our leadership began the woes of our today's unions.

Our best reform to rebuilding a new students front should necessarily adopt and adapt the old spirit of advocacy but reinventing itself to suit modern needs of education for the welfare of students in the country. Like AASU, established in 1972 to galvanize the young people in Africa and the Diaspora, particularly students into all the efforts geared towards the development of the African continent has been able to reinvent itself within its traditional vision and is now at the forefront of the fights for equal access to quality education, quality assurance in higher education, harmonization of curriculum, democratic governance, etc. Our NUGS should embrace unity in order to fight for what it is supposed to be fighting for. Active involvement in activities of government especially those relating to the youth of this nation and the student should become a priority. For instance, in years past when NUGS was strongly at the core of decision making concerning the welfare of Ghana students, no educational policy could be designed by any government machinery without the proper involvement of NUGS. That is to say, NUGS was not only a Union of Ghana Students' but also a stakeholder of government educational policy making body. Why and how was this right stripped off NUGS? Let us state with optimism that we shall regain our weight and height amidst the challenges we shall face, that of opposition.

It is quite obvious that, Ghana's standard of education is falling, partly due to the laziness of the students to take academic work serious and the inadequate teaching and learning equipments needed to enhance the educational process. NUGS should be the 'pressure group' to fight for the welfare of the students. Not just this, NUGS must as a matter of urgency begin to sensitize the learners who are their members on the need to get more serious with academi