An education consultant, Kofi Asare has raised concerns about the source of funding should Parliament agree to the motion requesting government to absorb the fees of all students in public universities in the country for a year.
The Bawku Central legislator, Mahama Ayariga, has tabled a motion in Parliament for government to halt 2021 tuition payments by students in public tertiary institutions.
Mr. Ayariga in the motion argued that this move is necessary to cushion parents against the impact of COVID-19.
The motion moved on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 and due for another round of debate on Tuesday, January 256, 2021.
Mr. Ayariga cited the loss of jobs and economic instability brought on by the pandemic to back his motion, describing his petition as a “condition of urgent public importance”.
But speaking to Citi News, Kofi Asare called on Parliament to consider ways for the immediate reimbursement of students should the motion be passed.
He insisted that GETFund is depleted and will be difficult to fund the fees of all students.
“Prior to the reopening of schools, UNESCO actually came out and advised African governments to as much as possible to remove financial barriers to re-entry of re-enrollment into schools after COVID-19 had such ravaging effects on income. However, schools have already reopened and the majority of the admissions deadlines have actually elapsed and many students have already missed an opportunity to go to tertiary schools due to lack of funds.”
“So if this proposal is approved, students who have already paid should be refunded, but I am not too sure if the country has the resources to absorb the fees of the huge numbers. GETFund is already depleted.”
Suspension of fees won’t hurt state coffers
Mr. Mahama Ayariga has insisted that halting 2021 tuition payments by students in public tertiary institutions will not present a significant strain on the state.
According to him, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state intervention would only need to cover essentials like electricity bills, water, cleaning and IT infrastructure.
“You can easily calculate that by taking out things that within the context of COVID-19 you don’t need. Even if you suspend the development work in the university for one year, would it affect the function of the university,” Mr. Ayariga noted in a Citi News interview.