Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has called on the government to increase the students’ Academic Facility User Fees for public Universities.
He said the non-increment for the past three years is hurting smaller universities like the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) and affecting its ability to deliver quality education.
Former President Kufuor who is also the Chancellor of UMaT was speaking at the 11th Congregation of UMaT at Tarkwa in the Western Region.
“For our country to develop and realize the laudable vision of Ghana Beyond Aid as espoused by our President, there is a need for investment in the institutions that carry out quality scientific research and training. Last year l pleaded with the government to prioritize increasing the Academic Facility User Fees of students to enable our public universities to continue to deliver on their mandate of providing quality education. Regrettably, to date, there has been no increase in this facility user fees since the past three years, and it is particularly hurting the finances of smaller universities like UMAT. Differentiation in the implementation of the facility user fees increase in favour of such smaller economically strategic universities would be productive and welcome,“ he said.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor while commending the students and the management for their hard work for the period, said there is the critical need to invest in universities that carry out scientific research like UMAT if the country is to achieve Ghana Beyond Aid aspirations.
The 2019 congregation saw 494 graduating students receiving various awards including Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science, Bachelor Degree, Diploma and Certificates.
The overall Best Graduating Student was Emmanuel Brempong Asiedu from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering who took the Vice Chancellor’s Award of a Laptop, Certificate and GHC 2,000.
The Vice-Chancellor of UMaT, Prof. Jerry Samuel Yaw Kuma, on his part congratulated graduates and appreciated various institutions including DANIDA for their support in resourcing the University.
Professor Kuma also appealed for early Parliamentary approval of the 2019/2020 fees as well as a clearance to replace ageing staff.
“Insufficient funding continues to be a major challenge for this university as far as teaching, research and learning are concerned. There is always a large funding gap between what the government supports the university with and what we generate from the collection of Academic Facility User Fees. I would like to appeal to the government through the Minister of Education to help us get Parliament to approve 2019/2020 fees schedule on time. Secondly, some Universities have been given clearance this year to replace their staff who have retired, resigned or passed on. The rest of us are still waiting for our clearance to replace our staff since 2018,“ he said.
The Board of the Mineral Development Fund was also called upon to urgently consider releasing the necessary funds to speed up the construction and completion of the legacy projects on the campus of the University of Mines and Technology expected to house the increase in the number of students that would enter the university next year as a result of the free Senior High School Policy.