Ghana’s policy reforms to remove the cost barriers to education, especially at the tertiary level, is to achieve rapid socio-economic growth, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice-President, has observed.
According to him, the government’s conviction was premised on the lessons from the development trajectories of regions and countries worldwide, which indicated that there was a relationship between tertiary education and economic growth.
“The policy is to build on the progress made so far, and expand opportunities for the youth to access higher education,” he stated, at the launch of the ‘No Guarantor Students Loan Policy’, in Kumasi.
The policy mandates Ghanaian tertiary students to access the Students Loan Trust Fund without any guarantor, and could now apply for loans with the Ghana Card having gained admission to study in an accredited tertiary institution.
Dr Bawumia, citing the 2021 United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) data, said it showed that the rate of tertiary education was 87 per cent in North America, 73 per cent in the European Union, 37 per cent in the middle east and North Africa.
In South Asia, the rate per the data was 26 per cent, and in sub-Saharan Africa, it was nine per cent.
Narrowing his argument to the national level, the Vice President indicated that Ghana’s current gross tertiary enrolment ratio of some 20 per cent compared very unfavourably to the 93 per cent in South Korea, 91 per cent in Singapore, 55 per cent in Brazil, 44 per cent in Mauritius, and 43 per cent in Malaysia.
He said in spite of the fact that the country’s gross tertiary enrolment ratio had improved considerably as compared to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, “we have a lot more to do”.
“Our commitment as a government is to ensure that every Ghanaian can go to school from primary through to the university with cost not posing as a barrier,” he assured.
The agenda is to build the human capital base of the country, thereby achieving an accelerated development in all sectors of the economy, says the Vice-President.
Dr Bawumia argued that “to achieve our national development agenda of a Ghana beyond aid, we need to re-engineer our educational system to produce the necessary human resource base.”
He entreated stakeholders to be supportive of the ongoing policy reforms to give opportunities to the youth to access education at all levels, because education was the catalyst to harnessing the human resource potentials of the nation.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education, said improving Ghana’s tertiary educational system in a manner that guaranteed access for the majority of the youth was the path to sustainable progress.
It was against the backdrop that the government was embarking on several policy reforms to encourage the youth to pursue courses at the tertiary educational level in a bid to enhance the country’s advancement.
Nana Kwaku Agyei Yeboah, Chief Executive Officer of the Students Loan Trust Fund, said the Management had established loan offices in all the accredited tertiary educational institutions.
This is to assist applicants and prospective applicants in the application process and provide other information required.