Professor Ransford Gyampo, a political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, has kicked against a directive by the Ministry of Education ordering the universities to comply with the implementation of the 15% increment in fees.
Describing the directive as illegal, Prof. Gyampo who is a member of the university’s communication team said only the Minister of Finance has the power to give such an order.
“It is important for us to point out the fact that in Act (10) 80, the only minister that is given the authority over fees is the Minister of Finance and not the Education Minister,” he argued in an interview.
Some of the student groups had accused the University of Ghana of increasing fees beyond the approved 15% threshold.
In its defence, the University of Ghana said it did no wrong as it calculated the 15% on the approved fees for 2019, which was not implemented in subsequent years due to general economic challenges.
Following concerns raised by student groups after public universities adhered to a directive from the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) to increase fees by 15% as approved by Parliament for the 2022/2023 academic year, the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, invited management of some public universities for a meeting.
After the meeting, Dr. Adutwum directed the University of Ghana to adhere to the approved rate.
But Prof. Gyampo insisted that the University of Ghana cannot honour the directive.
“The University of Ghana has done what is within the law, and any directive that insists we do the contrary will be asking us to be perpetuating an illegality. With the greatest of respect to the Education Minister, he cannot order public universities to do what is illegal. We haven’t done anything, and we are not ready to do any illegal thing at this moment.”
He added that the tag of insensitivity cannot be used against the University of Ghana because the institution has financially friendly measures to meet students in their hour of need.
“Previously, students were required to pay seventy percent of their fees before they are allowed to register, but we had to reduce that to fifty percent, so they can pay. Even beyond this arrangement, we have the Students’ Financial Office that is willing to provide financial support to brilliant but needy students.”
He further lamented that it has become extremely difficult to run the university without increasing facility user fees to complement government subventions, which have been in arrears for years.
“Government subventions are in arrears and even the little that comes is only used to pay the salaries of workers and so universities are now asked to pay their own utilities and buildings on campus are cracking, and we are supposed to mend them, and we need money to attend to these things to keep the institutions running.”