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23.06.2004 General News

Review proposed 100% increase in varsity fees

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The Students Representative Council (SRC) of the University of Ghana, Legon, has called on the university authorities to review the proposed 100 per cent increase in fees in the next academic year.

It also called for a reconsideration of the in-out-out-in, policy proposed by the university authorities, to an out-out-in-in which was more conducive to academic work. The in-out-out-in policy seeks to give residential status to first and final year students to the exclusion of second and third year students.

Speaking at a news conference in Accra on Monday, the interim president of the SRC, Ms Josephine Adwoa Ashia, said the 100 per cent fee increment was arrived at by the school authorities without the input of the student leadership.

She said students spend an average of ¢4,500,000 per semester on food, transportation, handouts, photocopying, books and medical charges. She said any attempt, to make students pay ¢2.5 million as fees would make life unbearable for them.

Ms Ashia further called on the government to intervene in the interest of students and parents. She noted that while there was no dispute about the need for the university to have adequate funds, current economic constraints make it impossible for students to foot that bill.

She said the fact that more than 50 per cent of students owe the university to the tune ¢10 billion, showed that further increases in student fees cannot be paid by the students. On the in-out-out-in policy, Ms Ashia argued that current university statistics indicates that the total residential placement for all the traditional halls and hostels is 7,691, while the total number of freshmen intake is 7,596.

She pointed out that the figures show that only 95 residential places would be available for the over 5000 final year students, if the proposed policy is adopted. Ms Ashia further argued that the academic grading system of the university was such that grades attained in the first year did not contribute to the final grade point, while grades obtained in the second, third and final years contributed 20, 40, 40 per cent respectively.

She stressed that any attempt to keep the second and third year students out to satisfy the first year students was inimical to academic work. She urged the university authorities to adopt a residential policy that would place emphasis on accomodating the third and final year students whose academic work contributed 80 per cent of the final grade point.

The President of Legon Hall, Emmanuel Kummadey, said the situation where the university authorities recognise student leaders but not their views, must stop.