The Ghana National Association of ADR Practitioners (GNAAP) has called for an Interest Based Approach in resolving the conflict between management and students at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
According to the association, the dispute which led to a violent demonstration by the students last week, could have been avoided if the management had taken steps to have the dispute resolved amicably.
“It is evident failure on the part of management of the university to pre-empt, engage and avert such an avoidable incident from happening,” a statement issued by GNAAP said.
It observed that although conflicts are natural, unavoidable and essential aspects of human interaction, they serve as an alert to individuals, organisations, groups and communities about underlying interests, tensions and social problems that exist.
Conflicts also provide a pathway through which challenges to an oppressive status quo can be articulated, and therefore serve as a tool for social change.
“Therefore, when those in leadership and management of public institutions such as KNUST, proactively and efficiently resort to conflict resolution tools and apply them appropriately, situations such as what happened at KNUST would not happen.
Where there are diverse interests and many stakeholders, one cannot do without dialogue. No stakeholder must be taken lightly.
“Prominence must be given to every stakeholder to avoid marginalization and power play for cohesion and growth. In our assessment, interest based approach in handling disagreement were lacking in the processes that were used by management of KNUST before the unfortunate incident happened,” the statement said.
GNAAP expressed worry about the destruction emanating from the violent protest, indicating that the incident has negatively affected the image of the university and the nation as a whole.
It said the effect of the incident transcends the walls of the University, “and for that matter, we wish to commend the government for the swift interventional measures instituted to arrest the situation at the University.”
It lauded the outcome of deliberations so far towards addressing the impasse and reopening of the university, and therefore, urged that the government, Chancellor and all stakeholders present at various meetings and all involved in managing the remaining issues to live above reproach and be pragmatic in their engagement for a smooth restoration of the university.”
By Edmund Mingle/adrdaily.com