Dr. Lawer Egbenya, a Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast has touted his take on the current issues of funding universities in Ghana and suggested some possible solutions to tackle the matter.
In a statement, Dr. Lawer Egbenya stated that a tertiary institution is the citadel of knowledge creation and sharing. He again made it known that, the human resource of a country needs to be trained, sharpened and retrained to adapt to changing trends so as to maximise potentials and ultimately, to develop the country.
The University of Cape Coast (UCC) lecturer believes that, to be able to cure the challenges facing funding of Universities in Ghana, the proposed University funding agenda must be revised.
He sited that, many universities are funded hugely, predominantly, through the provision of education or research grants in the national budget of the countries. Others, he said, receive such state support in the area of payment of salaries to university staff and provision of infrastructure development.
He however, opined that the changing economic situations globally, particularly in the last decade had occasioned a change in national support of many universities to one which the universities are positioned to raise funds from individuals, alumni, corporate institutions, benevolent organisations etc.
He again indicated that, in the midst of the self-inflicted, largely profligacy and corruption-induced, and COVID-19 driven economic downturn prevailing in Ghana, the government has indicated a medium-term agenda to wean off universities from governmental payroll and instead provide a “block grant” to such institutions.
Dr. Egbenya, despite believing other countries are practicing a system where the Universities are allowed to fund themselves, he believes that won’t be the best way to go in Ghana. He believes the policy has implications for the operation of public universities and also raise concern about the issue of accessibility and affordability.
He explained that, the basis of the policy is for the government to save some money for other activities, which means the universities are likely to burden the students and their parents with fees that might turn out to be exorbitant.
Dr. Egbenya further argued that, the policy could equally prevent families and individuals who would not be able to raise such monies from having university graduates.
He suggested that, there must be an agreement on the block grant to be paid by the government and this to-be-agreed fund must religiously be paid and in or on-time.
He again added that, the Government of Ghana’s scholarship scheme must be retooled to be abreast with the changing trend of providing financial support to students
More financial assistance in the form of scholarships should also be given to deserving applicants or students from economically poor backgrounds.
On the part of the universities, Dr. Egbenya urged the Universities to take up income generating and entrepreneur activities.
“To allay the fears of many that should the status quo change, universities will charge exorbitant fees, I am of the view that the fee regulatory mechanism by parliament in terms of deciding the fees to be paid by students that is currently in place will cure that. Even if that has to be changed, State institutions such as the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) can be empowered to perform such a task.” Dr. Lawer Egbenya explained.
He believes, despite Universities being engaged in some few income generating activities, they need to be urgently increased with the aim of raising more funds for running their operations.