…Makes A Case For Government Subvention
By Alfred K. Dogbey
Private University Students’ Association of Ghana (PUSAG), the umbrella body of students in private tertiary institutions, has appealed to government to render it Constitutional mandate of ensuring that all “higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, and in particular for progressive introduction of free education” as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
According to PUSAG leadership at a press conference in Accra yesterday, “students in the private universities across the country are paying huge sums of tuition fees well as our counterparts in the public institutions are enjoying subsidies”.
This situation, PUSAG executives said is contradicting the Constitutional principle of ensuring equally accessible education to all Ghanaians at the higher level. They stated that, the laws of Ghana have frown on full cost recovery of educating students across all levels.
President of PUSAG, Mr. Elias Zigah, pointed out that, “Being a student in a private university is not because we are in a privileged position to pay for the huge sums of fees”.
He explained that “it is because we want to have the same equal opportunity of developing our human resource capacities to contribute our quota to the development of the nation”.
“We are of the view that, the current educational challenges of the double streams Senior High School graduates striving to seek admissions in the public tertiary institutions is as a result of the subsidized cost of education”.
PUSAG clarified that, the demand for tertiary education is on the arithmetic rise each and every year, and the government cannot solely supplement the admissions of one group of students into the public universities and other tertiary institutions hence the need for support to the private universities to complement government’s efforts.
They therefore appealed to government to partner with the private universities in order to support students to ease the burden of providing education to students and also review modalities of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to include private universities.
The leadership is further calling on the ggovernment to make a special allocation of the Student loan Trust Fund to those students who will be admitted into the private universities to support their education.
Alternatively, PUSAG is again demanding that government acts in partnership with private university institutions to establish “Private Education Trust Fund (PETFund)” to support and develop private tertiary education through public and private partnership, and compel private universities to moderate their tuition fees to streamline students’ admissions.
These recommendations, PUSAG leadership believed are the ways forward in meeting the challenges of university admission and the excessive increment of fees of the private universities that are confronting the private tertiary students.
Some executives of PUSAG present at the press conference yesterday were; Michael Sumaila, the Media Relations Officer, Ernest Mensah Bediako and the General Secretary among others.