By Alfred K. Dogbey
The leadership of the Private University Students’ Association of Ghana (PUSAG), is calling on government to distribute equally government’s GETfund Scholarship scheme to students in private universities in the country, just as it does for public universities.
This, according to them is their “right to equally have the share of government’s support from GETfund scholarships and research funding”, backing their claim with Article 25 section 1 (c) of the 1992 Constitution.
Addressing journalist at press conference in Accra yesterday, the leadership of PUSAG said “we believe that the time has come for government to think outside the box and deeply consider the only alternative solution of partnering with the private universities, and supporting students as it does for the public institutions”.
They argued that at the moment, “every student in the public universities or tertiary institution is under the scholarship of government” and wondered why students in the private universities do not benefit from government scholarships.
Explaining further their position with the abovementioned article, they said “higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular, by progressive introduction of free education”
On issue of graduate unemployment PUSAG said, “in recent years, there have been renewed commitments by the governments of Ghana to address youth unemployment as a means of intensifying the fight against poverty and national security”.
However, the leadership of PUSAG claimed government’s effort in handling youth unemployment issue in the country over the years “is nothing to write home about”.
“This is because, yearly, unemployment amongst the youth, especially graduate, is on an astronomic rise. It is noted that about 60 per cent of the unemployed in Ghana fall between the ages of 15 – 24 years. This makes Ghana’s unemployment rate one of the highest in the world”, PUSAG explained.
According to PUSAG “though unemployment has taken a global dimension, the failure on the part of our governments to provide the avenues for jobs acquisitions, has much to do with poor economic policies”.
“The private sector is considered as the engine for economic growth and the major avenue for employment. We are much aware that Ghana spends over 72 per cent of her total revenue on public sector workers salaries.
The public sector, PUSAG noted, “employs not more than 6 per cent of Ghana’s work force annually. For our economy to grow to the benefit of all Ghanaians, and to provide the much needed avenue for employment, there is the essential need for government to invest so much into the private businesses, especially, tertiary education and industrialization”.
They said, “it is very important we put so much into the development of the human resource base capacity amongst the vast youthful population, and see to it that they get the needed services to develop our nation by providing them with the employment opportunities”.
PUSAG has, meanwhile recommended that “government must seek to revamp already existing public industries, which have been mismanaged over the years, so that the number of youth can get jobs.
Some National Executives of PUSAG present at the press conference are; Elias Zigah – National President, Mensah Bediako Ernes – General Secretary, Micheal Sumaila – Media Relation Officer and other executives.