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General News Fri, 23 Aug 2019

Catholic University in financial crisis

The National Coordinator of the Catholic Laity Council, Mr. Francis Ebo Arthur, has labelled the Catholic University College of Ghana (CUCG) in Sunyani as “insolvent” and appealed to members of the various local laity groupings to help mobilise funds to offset debts owed some financial institutions by the University.

The Bishops of the Catholic Church have been reportedly taken to court over some accumulated loans taken by the Church to build some structures on the campus of the University at Fiapre, in the Bono Region.

Mr. Ebo Arthur said the University’s debt burden is discouraging potential donors and investors as no individual or business organisation is willing to invest in an “insolvent” institution.

According to Mr Ebo Arthur, the Catholic University’s current financial performance can be described as “red flag”, which wards off well-meaning investors and donors.

Mr Arthur said the Ghana Catholic Bishops Council levied its members an amount of GH¢10.00 to settle the indebtedness but the amount realised was insufficient to settle the debt.

Mr Ebo Arthur said the Laity has been tasked to “aggressively” set up committees to rally individuals both home and abroad to help manage the debt portfolio of the university.

When The Chronicle contacted the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University, Professor Daniels Kwabena Obeng Ofori on phone, he confirmed that indeed the University is facing challenges and that the submission by the Laity Council Coordinator is accurate.

He said that, “the standard practice in establishing a University in other jurisdictions is to initially establish an endowment fund to cater for the institution’s capital expenditure, but that was not done in the case of the Catholic University College”.

According to Professor Obeng Ofori, schools fees paid by the students cannot be used to run capital expenditure of the university.

“School fees from students are not enough to run capital expenditure of universities but unfortunately we (CUCG) did not set up an endowment fund at the beginning, which would have been used for capital expenditure”, he explained.

He said the church, somewhere along the line realised the need to raise funds to effectively manage the university, but it has still not yielded the needed results”, the VC said.

ENDOWMENT FUND

In May 2018, the University launched a 200 million Endowment Fund and rebranding of the College as a strategy to revolutionise tertiary education in Africa.

The Objectives of the Fund is to satisfy regulatory requirement for receiving Presidential Charter; improve infrastructure on site and Investments (including staff) to raise it to the level of a top tier continental university.

Management of the university said at the time that the rebranding was part of the strategic plan of the Governing Council of CUCG which has the potential to make the university the new paradigm in tertiary education in the entire sub-continent.

HISTORY

The Catholic University was established by the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The idea for its establishment was conceived in 1997 and received its certificate of incorporation on August 17, 2001.

The university was granted accreditation by the National Accreditation Board on 4 December 2002. The first batch of students started on 3rd March 2003.The formal inauguration of the university was on 13 November 2003.

The University is among the very dignified private universities in the country. Over the years, the Catholic University of Ghana has moved to gain higher reputation nationally, as well as international recognition.

Inspite of its challenges, the University remains top preference for many who desire university education.

Centre 2nd

Review Free SHS Policy every 3 or 4 years –Prof. Millar

FROM William Nlanjerbor JALULAH, Bolgatanga

THE FOUNDER and President of Millar Open University in Bolgatanga, Prof. David Millar has proposed periodic review of the Free Senior High School Policy to enhance its effectiveness.

Serving as the main speaker at a public lecture organised by Bolgatanga-based A1 Radio on Tuesday as part of the radio station’s 10th Anniversary celebrations, the former Pro-Vice Chancellor of University for Development Studies said the implementation of the policy was good for the development of the country and should be allowed to stay.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Contemporary reforms in the educational sector; which way to go’, Prof. Millar further proposed that the policy should be allowed to run for at least twelve years but should be reviewed either every three or four years.

He said. “This Free SHS policy, let’s give say about twelve years but every three years, let’s review it or every four years, let’s review it such that it cuts across three or two succession governments. Review it, and normally, the policy is always the right thing.”

Prof. Millar observed that Ghana has nice policies but the implementation of those policies was the bane of the country stressing that if those policies were given a long term, it would give room to revise implementation strategies of the policies.

He said, “Don’t make it complicated with bringing another thing that says that something else should be or should not be. Let’s mount this one and let’s give it long term but build in reviews, periodic reviews.

“So it was very welcoming when all those who are sitting on the other side of the fence of the current government, indicated that they will review, and I said naturally, so be it. If we had heard, they would cancel, hey! Then we would have problems because we are not ready for that.”

Prof. Millar also said if he had his way, he would have suggested that nobody should campaign on free education because it is a non-issue and it has come to stay.

‘We should only campaign on how you are going to make it better, that is how the campaign message should be. Now, let me be specific. How would NPP make it better if it’s given another chance, how will NDC make better and how would any other party that would be vying make it better, not that we are going to discuss whether it should be there or not. And after twelve years of this, we can now decide we have had enough and then do a major reform again.

On his part, Upper East Regional Director of Education, Mr. Augustine Ayirizang, regretted that some parents in the region have relegated their children’s education to the background and rather focus their attention social activities such as funeral.

He said, “Most often than not, some parents’ lifestyle don’t help their children in education, as they rather spend much on their relatives’ funeral to the detriment of their wards education.

If parents can contribute in solving current educational challenges, it will help, not the government but to their children. Parents have equal roles to play as government because education is key to our current development. Therefore, parents should contribute the little they can to help their wards learning and understanding.”

A1 Radio was established in 2009 and has been the lead private radio station in the Upper East Region.

Source: thechronicle.com.gh