Education General News

Petition For Urgent Revision Of Fees For Public Universities

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Undoubtedly, not all hard times call for hard measures and for a government whose sole responsibility is to the people, it is only important that austerity measures are put in place to cushion the citizenry in times of hardships and economic crisis.
As an association with deepest concern for the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian, I write on our behalf to add our voice to the concerns that have already been raised by the various student unions and associations.
There is no denial that the Ghana we know of today is not the same of that which existed yesterday, and it is important that the prevailing circumstances which undermine our rights and freedoms must be addressed with swift intervention and dialogue. In this case, the students of the various public universities risk a denial to their basic right to education as a result of the 15% approved increase by Parliament.
This increase coupled with the inability of the public universities to provide adequate accommodation for students’ results in worsening the woes and burdens of parents and guardians as education becomes more of a privilege than a right. Prices of goods and services are at their highest and despite the remarkable appreciation of the Ghanaian cedi, inflation is still at its highest at 50.3%.
Notwithstanding the valid concerns that have been raised with respect to the importance of increasing fees, it is in our humble opinion that this would further aggravate the woes of the ordinary Ghanaian student whose hopes, dreams and aspirations are heavily dependent on the completion of their tertiary education. There thus exists an overarching responsibility on government to protect the vulnerable and fulfil its mandate to the people as schemes such as the Free Senior High School Policy have opened access to education for persons from diverse backgrounds in Ghana.
On behalf of the association and over 100,000 students in various public universities, I would plead that this matter be settled with utmost urgency. We must not forget that payment of fees is a requirement for students to register courses or risk deferral if they are unable to pay 70% of fees per the fee policy of some of the public universities. I would not want to remind Ghanaians of how over 1,000 were to be deferred by the University due to the same prevailing circumstances. I believe we would not wish for such an occurrence to ever unfold in the history of a country which believes in the principles of Equality and Justice for all.
We must not also forget that if the government intends to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 target for Quality Education, it is important that they address one of the seven target outcomes which is “inclusive and equitable quality education”. The actions taken today do not unfortunately, put us on the trajectory of pushing the SDG Agenda 2030 for Education. If Education is indeed as important as the government puts it, the actions of the administration should be targeted at achieving affordable quality education in public tertiary institutions.
Posterity will forever remember our deeds and on this note I would call on all major student unions including the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) and the Student Representative Council Executives of the various Public Universities to intensify the outcry against the new fee regime and equally, fast track  engagement with the major Government stakeholders such as the Ghana Tertiary Council, the Ministry of Education and the Parliamentary Committee on Education.
I would also call on the general public, students, parents, guardians, friends of the media and the plethora of opinion leaders within this country and beyond, to help voice out this most urgent plea. Education is a right and not a privilege and we would resist any attempts to backtrack our commitments to it.
THANK YOU!
SIGNED
SELMA YODA
(TEIN-KNUST PRESIDENT)
CC: CHAIRPERSON OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
NATIONAL UNION OF GHANA STUDENTS (NUGS)
ALL MEDIA HOUSES

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