The Head of Halls at the University of Ghana, Legon, Dr. Wiafe-Akenten Brenya says the school should not be burdened with providing more residential facilities amid the campus’ accommodation deficit.
In the short term, he said expanding the academic infrastructure should be the school’s main priority.
“For now it should not be the responsibility of the university to build more residential facilities. We should rather concentrate on academic facilities in terms of lecture halls, in terms of offices and provide equipment and others that will enhance teaching and learning,” he said.
He made these remarks on Citi TV‘s The Point of View where he added that “the trend now should be having private individuals to come in as we have the Evandy and Bani and all that.”
Dr. Wiafe-Akenten further explained that involving the private sector will be more financially prudent; in line with calls for a change to the fee regime in the school .
“Students and sometimes politicians make it difficult to run them [the halls] and to pay the right fee that will enable you to administer well and probably make profits and build additional ones.”
The last major attempt at residential infrastructure expansion by the university was part of the controversial Africa Integras deal which included the construction of a 1,000 student capacity hostel.
In 2015, the University of Ghana entered into a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with Africa Integras to invest US$64 million in the construction of the hostel.
The project was structured as a 25-year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract.
Call for balanced approach
Also on the show, Rodney Nkrumah Boateng, Press Secretary to the Minister of Education, however, noted that a more balanced solution was needed.
He argued that “we can’t have just the university building halls and we can’t have just the private sector build halls.”
“Maybe you would need a mix where the university halls will go to people who are least able to afford them and the private halls will go to those who are most able to afford them. Someohow we would have to find the right balance.”
Ahead of the 2019-2020 academic year, it is estimated that 10,000 new students are enrolling, to join 48,000 continuing students though only some 19,000-bed spaces are available in the school’s traditional halls.