Students of the University of Ghana (UG) may have to brace themselves to pay more fees in the next academic year, as the institution says it is going through financial distress.
Dean of Students, Prof. Godfred Bokpin, says the University has been under-funded from government, a situation that has put a strain on its finances.
This comes after UG students agitated over the possible privatisation of some four halls of residence, following the failure of University Management to pay a ¢43 million loan facility contracted in 2008 for the construction of the halls.
The students who spoke to Joy News say they will resist any attempt by University Management to pass on the cost to them.
They have given government a week’s ultimatum to intervene and solve the problem as they hold discussions with stakeholders.
“We won’t pay and we will be bold to defend this just cause like we have done many times, we will resolve this without destroying any property,” one student said.
“We will not sit idle for things to get out of hand. The private hostels are testaments that a private investor is making enough profit, so we cannot sit down for the hostels to be privatised for someone to make money off us. The prices could go as much as ¢2,500 to ¢3,000 [per academic year],” another student protested.
But the Dean of Student Prof. Godfred Bokpin noted though the University has not decided to privatise the halls, it is seriously considering increasing the fees in the next academic year.
“There isn’t any firm decision to privatise those halls but that proposal has come up for consideration as the university is looking at various options available to enable it to draw down on these facilities.
“Currently, the University does not have a balance sheet and I think increasing fees is available…there is the need to look at the fees students are paying because the university is heavily underfunded by government.”
According to him, the constraint of the school has to be addressed because the last three years Parliament had to step in to determine who has the right to determine the fees.
“So we are still charging fees as low as it was in 2015/16 academic year. But you will bear with me that prices are not the same now and we have to be realistic with what is on the ground is that we are running down our assets that we are not able to maintain and increase infrastructure,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ranking Member on the Education committee of Parliament, Nortsu-Kotoe Peter, says the University will not be able to increase its fees without the approval from Parliament because the Education Ministry has still not completed the process.
He, however, says the committee will invite the university management over the possible privatisation of some four halls of residence when Parliament resumes from recess.