Authorities of the University of Ghana are compelled to increase academic user fees beginning next academic year due to some financial constraints.
The University authority was dragged to court over failure to settle a 43million Cedis loan facility it secured in 2008 to build four halls for the school. The school lost the case in court and was compelled to pay a judgement debt of 528 million Cedis.
The university management was also asked to show good fate by depositing 50million Ghana Cedis by the end of May 2019 or lose control of the halls.
The Dean of Students at the University, Professor Godfred Bopkin told Joy FM in an interview that the country’s premier university has been going through financial challenges for some time now due to government neglect and pressure from servicing the loan facility.
According to him, the institution can no longer honour all its financial obligations including the judgment debt if it does not increase fees in the next academic year.
“I think increasing fees is available even without this judgment debt. There is the need to take a realistic look at the fees that students are paying because the university is heavily underfunded by government. The binding fiscal constraint on the university has to be addressed,” he said.
He justified the university’s decision to increase fees indicating that, the fees being paid currently by the students has not been changed since the 2015/2016 academic year when Parliament intervened.
“In the last three academic years, because Parliament had to step in to determine who has the right to determine fees, we are still charging fees that we charged as low as it was in the 2015/2016 academic year. You will bear with me that prices in 2015 are not the same as prices today. There is the need to take a realistic look at fees grossly because the reality on the ground is that we are running down our assets and unable to maintain and we are unable to expand our infrastructure," the Dean intimated.
Meanwhile, the entire student body have also been agitating over the privation of the hostels which are currently in question. They argue that the privatization of these hostels would make things difficult for students who are already overburdened with other academic related fees.
Addressing the issue, the Dean of students indicated that a decision has not yet been taken by management to private the halls even though it is on the table.
“There isn’t any firm decision to privatize those hostels, but that proposal has also come up for consideration. Because the university is looking at various options available to enable the university draw down on these facilities. As we speak right now, the university does not have the balance sheet,” he emphasised.