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Regional News Sat, 17 Nov 2007

Govt urged to review free education at Universities

Kumasi, Nov.17, GNA - Dr Lord Emmanuel Asamoah, Principal of the Garden City University College, a private institution at Kenyase near Kumasi has said that it was time for the government to review the policy of free education at the University level.

He said the reality was that there were about 20,000 Ghanaian students in private university colleges whose parents were paying the full cost of university education.

The Principal was speaking at the second matriculation ceremony of the University College where 244 students made up of 160 men and 84 women matriculated to pursue degree courses in business, nursing as well as information technology.

He said the number of private universities in the country in recent times had shown that most parents were capable and willing to pay for the tertiary education of their children. Dr Asamoah said, "It is estimated that the current total population of university students in the country stands approximately 100,000 and out of this as many as 20,000 attend private university colleges as fee-paying students".

He said given the recent advent of private university colleges in the country, this figure represented a significant contribution of this sector to government's human resource development agenda. "Given the rapid growth of private universities, there is no doubt that within the next decade or so, the number of students in private university colleges may outpace those in the few public universities. Ironically, majority of those who generally gain admission to public universities as non-fee-paying students, are the children of parents, who have the means to pay for quality education in expensive Senior High School (SHS).

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It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that this class of parents could afford to meet the full cost of university education for the same children", he added.

The Principal suggested that instead of the government spending huge public funds on university education of the children of the privileged minority, the country as a whole would be better of if the huge budget allocated to provide virtually free university education for the children of the rich and famous could be applied to provide free education for children from the Kindergarten to the SHS level. He emphasized that "the policy will ensure that every child, especially those from the rural areas and underprivileged urban communities could be assured of minimum SHS education at the cost of the state.

"Such a policy will ensure that most of our young citizens will at least become functionally literate to enable them to determine their future careers, lead meaningful lives and make the right choices in life", he added.

Dr Asamoah noted that the government could, however, support genuinely needy university students to pursue their ambitions through scholarships, concessionary loans and other forms of financial assistance.

Source: GNA
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