The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has expressed the need for the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) and parliament to take immediate steps to protect vulnerable students in these times.
According to the union, the needs of the students are equally paramount and as such stakeholders must essentially go all out to ensure students have the best of privileges to succeed.
Contained in a statement signed by the President, Dennis Appiah-Larbi Ampofo, it highlighted that the National Secretariat assured the “relentless attitude” of the union in pursuit of the defense of Ghanaian students.
“We are calling on GTEC as the regulator and parliament which has an oversight responsibility over state agencies to take immediate steps to protect vulnerable students in these times. Once again, the leadership of the union and all our blocs remain committed to ensuring the protection and defense of our students and will pursue every means to ensure all stakeholders act in this regard.”NUGS
Elaborating on a roadmap on the increment of fees among other things, he highlighted that the leadership of the Union in a meeting with President Akufo-Addo requested the assistance of the President in ensuring that fees do not rise next year. Subsequently, the union followed up with a memo through the ministry of education to the President on November 23, 2022, in which it made same request.
NUGS indicated that throughout this period, it has also initiated several formal and informal meetings and discussion, all on the same subject with the parliament select committee on education, GTEC and other stakeholders.
Growth of tertiary education in the country
The leadership of NUGS acknowledged that these times are challenging, not only for government but for students who are the most vulnerable and affected during any economic crisis, hence any astronomical increase in fees will adversely affect the growth made in tertiary education in the country.
“Over the last few weeks our fear has been confirmed, with the release of fees by some public tertiary institutions increasing both academic faculty user fees and residential facility user fees, and in some instances some of the increment being above 30% and in some outrageous instances above 50%. These surges are not only impacting [public institutions students but have triggered similar increment in private institution and hostel facilities. It is unfortunate that public institutions who are supposed to be concerned about the welfare of students are rather leading the ripping of students apart.”NUGS
Commenting on the outcome of its meeting with GTEC, NUGS stated that it expressed worry over any increase regardless of the percentage and holds strong resentment against any attempt to increase fees above the 15% approved by parliament.
Additionally, it noted that it has cited several instances of undue increment in fees beyond the threshold, with some going as high as 50%. The threshold of 15%, NUGS explained, is also applicable to Public Residential Facilities in these institutions, hence the attempt to “outrageously” increase residential fees is illegal.
“We strongly call on all institutions who have illegally increased fees beyond the threshold to immediately reverse such increment.”NUGS