A former Minister of Education, in charge of tertiary education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah has reacted to a request by the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga asking Parliament to approve a motion for the absorption of 2021 fees in public tertiary institutions.
Prof. Ayariga in the motion argued that this move is necessary to cushion parents against the impact of COVID-19.
But according to Prof. Yankah, the motion is a bit late as students have started paying fees and have not particularly complained about it.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Yankah said: “It is tricky to oppose the bill and not to be perceived as being anti-student or the perception that if your government does not support this bill then they are against the student body, but it is far from that. People should ask our friend, Mahama Ayariga, why at this time when students have already started paying fees and I haven’t overheard many of them [students] complaining. I’m not saying that it’s cheap or that it is affordable, but it hasn’t been a major complaint that students had.”
He noted that government was working on paying arrears from last year.
Prof. Yankah also added that there are currently no complaints from the student body to have the fees waived-off for the 2021 academic year.
“There was a residue that is still unpaid from last year that we were working on, but nobody had made this a special topic because they knew that there has been a Fees and Charges Act which requires that before universities increase their tuition fees they should seek permission from Parliament so that was a control mechanism to ensure that fees were not overly above board. Secondly, there have been schools that arbitrarily ignored the Fees and Charges Act and keep adding on to the fees. All that we need to do is to draw their attention to the fact that they need to be compliant, you cannot increase fees until it has been approved by Parliament.”
“There are other schemes from within every single university where those who cannot afford to pay the full fee at the beginning are allowed to pay a fraction, and then you are given instalment plans until you are able to pay everything. There are all these facilities available, so it’s not worth dramatizing the issue by one particular party,” he added.