Former President John Dramani Mahama, Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) says if elected, the next government will provide free laptops to tertiary students to facilitate participation in virtual classes.
The next NDC government will also establish free Wi-Fi zones in all public and private tertiary institutions; and support tertiary institutions to invest in virtual infrastructure.
The NDC in its Election 2020 People’s Manifesto under the sub-heading; “providing globally competitive and quality education,” said it will also provide free tertiary education for persons with disability.
It will also absorb 50 per cent of fees of tertiary students for the 2020/2021 academic year as an incentive to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on students and parents.
The NDC said if the Public Universities Bill is enacted before January 7, 2020, it will repeal it to allow public universities to exercise the autonomy the Constitution has clothed them with.
The NDC said it will strengthen the regulatory role of the National Council for Tertiary Education; encourage shared laboratory experiences especially for those in the science and technology programmes and include private tertiary institutions.
It will complete the conversion of all polytechnics into Technical Universities (TUs) in line with our original vision of creating opportunities for professional mobility of practitioners.
The next NDC government will reposition the TUs to produce relevant manpower for national development; equip all ‘Amatrol Labs’ and provide appropriate training both home and abroad for instructors.
It will also operationalise the National Research Fund, expand medical education, training of physician assistants, nurses and midwives and preventive health practitioners to sustain Free Primary Health Care for all, and enhance staff exchanges across institutions especially among distinguished and experienced professionals.
The NDC explained that it will encourage and support private investment in infrastructure especially for student accommodation and transportation; create equal opportunities for females and individuals with special needs; and establish universities in the six new regions.
It will maintain the status quo with regards to payment of allowances for teacher and nursing trainees; abolish the mandatory national service and teacher licensure examinations for graduates of the Colleges of Education; and restore automatic employment of newly trained teachers.
On Legal Education, the NDC explained that it would vigorously reform and expand access to professional legal education and provide opportunities to all qualified LLB holders by granting accreditation to certified law faculties to undertake the professional law qualification course.
It will review the Legal Profession Act in consultation with stakeholders, and establish a Council for Legal Education and Training, to accredit certified law faculties to run the Professional Law Course subject to the oversight supervision of the Council.
It will also establish a faculty of law in the Northern Region to serve the northern sector.
The next NDC Government will also resource the Student Loan Trust Fund to make timely and adequate payments to students; increase students’ loans to commensurate with prevailing educational costs; and abolish the requirement of guarantors as a pre-condition for accessing student loans to enable more students who need financial assistance access the loan.
The next NDC Government will replace the guarantor eligibility system with possession of a recognised National Identity Card to facilitate tracking post-school tracking and loan recovery; extend loan repayment period to 10 years including; a three-year moratorium to commence repayment.
The NDC said it would remove all impediments to the ability of students to easily access the facility; extend coverage to students in public and private tertiary institutions and reintroduce the ‘SLTF Plus’ to enable students access loans upon admission.