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General News Tue, 3 Aug 1999

Students will pay new fees only if loans are available

The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) said it will tell university students to pay the new fees if only the Loans and Endowment Funds are set up to assist them.

Mr. Gabriel Wright-Mensah, Programs and Projects Co-ordinator of NUGS, repeated that the union is not against the payment of the new fees. However, proper policies and arrangements need to be put in place to safeguard the interest of all stakeholders.

Mr. Wright-Mensah said there are currently two separate committees on Loans and Endowment Funds (LEF) and the forthcoming Education Forum working on proposed policies for the funding of tertiary education, among other things. He said these committees comprise representatives of NUGS, the Ministry of Education, Private Enterprises Foundation, Ghana Employers' Association, the Banks, Ghana National Association of Teachers and other local development partners of education.

Mr. Wright-Mensah described the situation as unfair to students because there is no increase in the SSNIT students' loan, which still stands at 800,000 cedis a year. He said the proposed loans and endowment fund is also not yet available to cushion students against the astronomical increases. "The former fees were even a burden to some students and we strongly believe that the government can run the universities adequately with what we have already been paying."

Fresh students entering University of Ghana for the 1999/2000 academic year are to pay between 491,500 and 751,500 cedis, up from between 186,600 and 416,500 cedis.

Touching on the "Mobrowafo" peaceful demonstration, which started at the campus of University of Ghana on Monday, Mr. Wright-Mensah said the NUGS is fully in support of the action against the ad hoc manner in which the government is handling the funding of tertiary education.

"If by next week the government does not do anything about it, we will go to town with the support of various organizations as the TUC, GNAT, Ghana Bar Association, Civil Servants' Association, Christian Council of Ghana and the Catholic Secretariat all of whom we have contacted already.?

Source: Joy FM