Stakeholders in education have kicked against the Government’s proposal to wean off public tertiary institutions from its payroll.
They said the agenda would increase the cost of accessing tertiary education and pose a major economic barrier to accessing education by the poor.
This was in a statement signed by the representatives of the stakeholders and copied the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
The stakeholders; University Students Association of Ghana, Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition, National University of Ghana Students, All Africa Students’ Union, Campaign Against Privatization and Commercialization of Education, African Education Watch and the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance in March, 2022, said public tertiary institutions in the country would be weaned-off government’s payroll.
It is part of the Government’s medium-term measures to address the challenges confronting the economy.
The Minister said the institutions would rather be provided with a fixed amount “block grant,”-an annual sum of money allocated by the Central Government to a state agency to help fund a specific project or programme.
The stakeholders argued that taking away financial support from tertiary institutions would undermine Government’s target of achieving increase in Gross Tertiary Enrolment ratio from 18 per cent to 40 per cent by 2030.
“We are informed of the justification being made by some members of the UTAG and Vice Chancellors that, charging realistic fees is the way to go in improving quality, citing the examples of other European Countries that have successfully implemented similar cost-shifting initiatives,” the statement said.
It, however, noted that adequate safety nets for poor students through a responsive student’s loan and a meritorious, transparent and accountable scholarships systems had been critical to maintaining equity regardless of the introduction of fees in those countries.
“Ghana’s existing students’ loan and scholarship programme is not responsive to the needs of poor students and will in no way mitigate the situation for students if the government goes ahead with its decision,” it said.
The stakeholders, among others, proposed that, the Government, in its attempt to cut down on expenditure and reduce fiscal pressure, should intensify domestic resource mobilisation to shore up local revenues to finance social services provisioning and urgently pass and implement the Exemptions Bill with the same priority given to the e-levy.