A group made up of students from technical universities in the country are calling on the government to cause a 30% reduction in fees for the 2020/2021 academic year, as part of measures to alleviate the effects of COVID-19 in the country.
In a petition addressed to the President of the Ghana National Union of Technical Students, and copied to GhanaWeb, the group said there is the need for pressure to be mounted on the government to take an action considering how university students have been left out from government’s Coronavirus Alleviation Program.
“We applaud the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo-Danquah Akuffo-Addo for the steps taken to address COVID-19’s negative economic impacts on Ghanaian people. Prominent amongst those measures include the government’s decision to absorption of half the utility cost for all Ghanaian households for three months. Also, the decision to provide stimulus packages for business which have come under stress is well thought of, as it will save many from potential job losses. However, we feel that as university students, we have been left out from the government’s Coronavirus Alleviation Program,” the petition stated.
According to the students, despite the ease in COVID-19 restrictions, there remains a reduction in economic activities which has affected the incomes of parents who have their children in school.
“Trotro and Taxi drivers are experiencing low sales due to the observation of social distancing protocol in their vehicles. Street hawkers, market women are also experiencing low patronage. Many of these Ghanaians are parents with families to take care of. With low income due to low sales, the finances of many parents who work in the informal sector have tumbled. This will adversely affect their ability to cater to their wards in various tertiary institutions in the country,” the students claimed.
They add that some parents who work in the formal sector have also lost their jobs with others seeing a reduction in their emoluments due to the pandemic and are equally facing challenges in raising money for the upkeep of their families as well as paying for their wards education.
Providing details of their demand in the petition, the students said considering the average fees paid by each tertiary student in the country, a 30% reduction in fees for each student will set government around a cost of GHC300 million, which they claim falls within governments absorption range.
“We propose a 30% reduction in tuition fees for all university students. Ghana had a student population of about 444,000 in 2017. Three years now, we can expect it to be hovering around 500,000. On average, a Ghanaian tertiary student pays about GH¢2000.00 as fees. This means the government would have to absorb about GH¢600.00 off the tuition per tertiary student. This amounts to GH¢300 million, which we believe is within the range that the government can absorb. It is well within the range that will not constitute a disadvantage to other sectors in the disbursement of the Coronavirus Alleviation Program funds.”
While appreciating government’s efforts in managing the effects of the pandemic, the students say they believe that directing funds from the Coronavirus alleviation program to help reduce fees is key in fighting against the economic impact of coronavirus and a big way to show support for all Ghanaian students during these tough times.
Read the full petition by the students' group below