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General News Sat, 11 May 2019

'Broke' UG to increase fees for next academic year

The University of Ghana, UG says students will from next academic year, 2019/2020, pay more fees as the institution is going through financial distress.

Speaking to Joy FM in reaction to calls by students for management not to privatise halls on campus, Dean of Student, Prof. Godfred Bokpin said the University has been under-funded by the government, a situation that has put a strain on its finances.

“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.”

“So we are still charging fees as low as it was in 2015/2016 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.

Addressing issues relating to the privatization of some halls on campus the UG Professor said, “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."

He added that 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.

He, however, said the committee will invite the university management over the possible privatisation of some four halls of residence when Parliament resumes from recess.

UG students kick against privatisation of halls

Students of the University of Ghana (UG) have voiced their displeasure over management's plans to privatize some four halls of residence in the school.

The privatisation is to enable the University management offset a GHS43 million loan it acquired to build the halls which has shot up to GHS528 million because of interest and failure to repay at the stipulated time.

The students, however, say the privatisation of the four halls - Hilla Limann, Alexander Adum Kwapong, Elizabeth Frances Sey and Jean Nelson Aka Halls - are likely to lead to an increase in prices at the halls.

SRC president of the University of Ghana (UG) Mr Sylvester Amoako in a press conference on Thursday, May 9, 2019, called on the government to intervene.

He said: “The prices, as compared to other halls, is expensive, we cannot afford it. We are calling for a round table discussion with the university management, the Ministry of Education and the government of Ghana must intervene in this matter.

“We are giving an ultimatum to have the round table discussion. I believe that after one week if we don’t get a round table discussion, then its en route to the registry and from there en route to the Flagstaff house.”

The UGEL halls

With less than 40 percent of the entire student’s body residing on campus due to limited space, these halls of residence were constructed in 2010 to ease the accommodation deficit.

They were initially expected to be pegged at a commercial price, a decision the students vehemently opposed.

The then President, the Late Prof. John Atta Mills intervened to offset the loan on behalf of management, a promise that has not been fulfilled till date.

While the management continues to address accommodation challenges on campus, the privatization of these halls may come as a big blow to students.

The 43 million Ghana cedis loan facility government contracted from a consortium of six banks and released in three tranches has now accumulated due to interests and other charges which have accrued over the last 10 years.

Source: primenewsghana.com