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23.03.2009 Education

Grant tax relief to private universities

The Conference of Heads of Private Universities, Ghana (CHPUG) has called on the government to grant tax relief to private universities.

This, according to the association, would enable its members to deliver quality tertiary education to complement government's efforts of making tertiary education accessible to all.

The Chairman of CHPUG, Dr Samuel H. Donkor, made the call at the association's 3rd anniversary/academic conference in Koforidua at the weekend.

The three-day event on the theme "Private university education- complementing government's effort in education", is being attended by heads of all private universities in the country.

It is expected to provide a platform for the participants to discuss issues confronting private universities and also share ideas on academic issues.

Dr Donkor, however, indicated that in spite of the important role being played by universities, access to tertiary education had remained a big challenge to many young people in developing countries, including Ghana.

It was in view of this, that private universities had been established, he noted.

Highlighting some of the important roles private universities played in the economy, Dr Donkor pointed out that such educational institutions had, in accordance with the expectations of the International Finance Corporation, accelerated the pace of national development.

"Currently more than 30,000 students are studying in private universities in Ghana, which have also created jobs for 1,500 faculty, administrative and support staff," Dr Donkor stated.

As part of efforts by the private universities to produce answers to national problems such as poverty, unemployment, disease and ignorance, Dr Donkor challenged private universities to introduce relevant programmes that would address these challenges.

"Private universities need to give their communities the wherewithal to tackle problems with better results and that required the introduction of relevant programmes to accelerate national development," he emphasised.

In a fraternal message, the Executive Secretary of the National Accreditation Board (NAB), Mr Kwame Dattey, expressed concern that private universities admitted applicants who did not have the requisite qualifications.

Such practice, he pointed out, had succeeded in creating the impression that most private universities had allowed monetary gains to influence the role expected of them in the delivery of quality tertiary education.

"Even if we must admit applicants who do not possess the requisite qualifications, we must organise remedial classes for them to enable them to better their results," he appealed.

For his part, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, said private universities had significantly complemented government's efforts at making tertiary education more accessible to the increasing number of qualified applicants.

He, therefore, emphasised that the government was committed to collaborating with the traditional authorities to address some of the nagging issues confronting tertiary educational institutions such as land acquisition to enable them to operate effectively.