Government is being asked to extend the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) support to private universities in Ghana to reduce the burden of running the institutions.
The GETFund is a public trust set up by an Act of Parliament in the year 2000 to provide funding to supplement government effort for the provision of educational infrastructure and facilities within the public sector from the pre-tertiary to the tertiary level.
President of the Presbyterian University College of Ghana, Reverend Professor Emmanuel Adow Obeng, says because private universities pay taxes, they must be entitled to the benefits from the Fund.
“What is wrong with GETFund supporting some of these lecturers to do higher degrees, it will be supporting Ghana. What about funding for research for the universities that will enhance the development of this country, they are Ghanaians who pay taxes,” he said.
“Our appeal to the government is to extend GETFund support to the private universities especially in terms of staff development, research and logistics to support academic work like buses for student study tours it used to be the case,” he adds.
He spoke to Luv News at the 15th joint matriculation ceremony at Asante-AKyem Agogo Campus.
Commenting on a 25% corporate tax relief to private universities announced during the 2018 budget presentation, Prof Obeng said although it is a step in the right direction, the universities were not making profits, to begin with.
Although the tax relief is expected to reduce the financial stress on private universities, they are asking for more.
“I am happy it has been removed, we are waiting for its implementation,” Rev Prof Obeng said.
Every private university must be accredited to a chartered university at a stipulated fee.
This fee, which among other things is payment for the mentoring by the chartered universities, has been described as too high.
The private universities say the high cost of accreditation is having an adverse effect on their finances.
Rev. Professor Obeng said “they (chartered universities) charge you for program affiliation fees which are charged for the year and ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 dollars depending on the university. Another is the Program fees which are also charged for the year and ranges between 2000 and 5000 dollars.
“Then you can be charged for every student registered on the program every year; so, for instance, we have 1,000 students offering business, the university will charge say $8 per student every year. These are few of the charges,” he explained.
He wants the mentoring institutions to see the services they render in the form of mentoring as a call to national duty.
“We cannot force any mentor institution but we are appealing that...these cost should be reduced because they are too high. It is a strain and burden on the already financially-burdened private universities,” he laments.
Meanwhile, he said, government must encourage philanthropists to support higher education institutions.
A total of Seven hundred and twenty-two (722) students were matriculated into the five campuses of the Presbyterian Universities at Okwahu, Asante-AKyem, AKuapem, Tema and Kumasi.
He also admonished the students to be commitment to their studies and warned them against examination malpractices.