It appears some of these public tertiary institutions have a lot of cash to mess around with. For example, the Takoradi Technical University (TTU), confirmed last week via the Finance Officer that, they had a lot of cash from fees which they had no use for, so ‘they threw’ it away in a Ponzi investment scheme, the recovery of which, is now in limbo. The situation at Tepa Nurses Training College (TNTC) cannot also be overlooked.
Following is an example of how some of these public tertiary institutions make cash from poor students and their parents, and end up pouring the funds down the drain like TTU. At UEW, students who were struggling to pay their fees, which ranged between GHC 800.00 to GHC 1,450.00 for the 2016/17 academic year, were given the option to make a part payment and honour the remainder on an agreed date.
A flat GHC 50.00 was applied to every student who took advantage of this payment method. Apart from this, a penalty charge of GHC 20.00 was charged per day for failure to pay the remainder on the agreed date. I personally know students who paid penalty charges of over GHC 300.00 and this in addition to the outstanding original fees balance. Would these students have opted for this mode of payment in the first place, if they had such money to ‘throw away’?
Let’s put partisan politics aside and look at making tertiary education accessible to the poor ordinary Ghanaian. Is it an offence to now attend a supposed public university in Ghana? It should be noted that the above charges affected all students at UEW who made part payment of their fees, irrespective of their political affiliation.
Parliament, on the basis of the NPP government agenda, to make life a little bit more comfortable for all manner of Ghanaians than what pertained during the Mahama era, (note that, these penalty charges were also introduced in the Mahama era, just like the nuisance taxes that have been abolished), should peg the academic facility user fees of all public tertiary institutions at GHC 500.00 and below, thus depending on whether a student is pursuing science, humanities, business, or the social sciences and go on to peg residential accommodation fees at GHC 400 and below, depending on whether it is two in a room or five in a room as it is the case in some students halls of residence. Parliament should then publish these approved fees in the media and warn public tertiary institutions’ managers of dire consequences if they should attempt to sneak in any illegal fees/charges.
If any head of a public tertiary institution, is then of the opinion that, the fees approved by Parliament are insufficient to ensure the smooth administration of the institution, what stops such a head from resigning and give way to someone who has the business acumen akin to the NPP government’s introduction of the free Senior High School education, abolishing of a mirage of nuisance taxes, and introducing teacher and nursing trainees allowances, all in less than a year of taking up the mantle of power, when hitherto, it was argued by some mentally deluded individuals that, such a feat was not possible?
Alhassan Salifu Bawah
Lecturer and NPP Member
(son of a peasant farmer)