CPP, PNC, Reform Kick Against Varsity Fees
Three of Ghana's opposition parties, the Convention People's Party (CPP), National Reform Party (NRP) and the People's National Convention (PNC), have called on the Government to demonstrate political courage in putting priorities right rather than confining to the dictates of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The political parties have further urged the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration to act vigorously in restraining the university authorities from imposing unconstitutional fees on Ghanaians seeking to enter the university and also meet their financial obligations to them.
In a joint statement issued by the three political parties on Monday this week, they expressed their dissatisfaction over the recent imposition of tution fees by the University of Ghana authorities and urged the NPP administration to prioritize education (including tertiary education) and other social services in conformity with positive change after the attrition of social policy Ghanaians experienced over the last eight years.
This statement has come following a recent pronouncement by the University of Ghana seeking to introduce tuition fees in the university.
According to the statement, which was signed by the General Secretaries of the three political parties, Nii Noi Dowuona (CPP), Kyeretwie Opuku (NRP) and Gabriel Pwamang (PNC), though they deplore the authoritarian manner in which the university has forced the issue they welcome the debate on university funding.
They queried "who should decide how public resources are used and in whose interest must decision makers act?"
The parties believed that at this stage of national development, Ghana must treat education (and certain basic services) as social investments in a better future as well as ensuring equal opportunity for all Ghanaians which is the best route to national unity and higher productivity.
According to them without this unity the nation can not defeat national poverty.
Socialising up front the cost of education through the state machine they said is the matter of survival, whilst arguing that if Ghanaians are serious about social equity and progress then we must accept greater individual responsibility and some resource redistribution.
However, the parties said while the debate for funding tertiary education gets on the way, they called on the Legon authorities to respect the constitution and suspend this oppressive and divisive policy, arguing that academic freedom can not mean non-accountability to the public (which owned the universities they manage) or to stakeholders like the students who are mostly adults Ghanaians.
Finally the parties called on progressive lecturers, students and workers of Legon to campaign for greater transparency and democracy in university management as a means of defeating the divide and rule tactics that play the nation against each other.
They also called on the general mass movement to get involved in the debate on education funding and to broaden it to address the fundamental issues of resource control in the public interest.