Secretary for Education of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Ransford Tege has blamed the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund) capping for the increment of academic fees by tertiary institutions in the country.
This is in response to the Finance Minister’s proposal to allocate 39% of the GETfund to the education sector and the remaining 61% for other loan purposes. To express disagreement, NUGS held a placard-protest in front of the Parliament along with Africa Education Watch and the All-Africa Students Union on the 16th of March, 2023. A petition was also submitted to the Parliament to call for the uncapping of the GETfund.
Speaking to UniversNews, Ransford Tege stated that the lack of adequate infrastructure in most schools for which school fees were increased could have been well addressed if the GETfund was in full capacity. He alleged that tertiary institutions would not have increased school fees if GETfund was uncap.
“GETfund sponsors a lot of the infrastructural projects in our tertiary institutions. Now most of the reasons that’s were stated by our universities and tertiary institutions for increasing of school fees was duly because of the student’s intake is increasing so they want to expand infrastructure. So technically we could one way or the other attribute part of the increment of school fees to the capping of the GETfund. Because if GETfund was capacitated or was in full capacity and was able to give us the auditoriums we need, the better halls we need and stuff like that, I don’t think a university could stand up and say that it is because of inadequate lecture halls that is why I am increasing school fees to make sure I get space and use part of the school fees to build lecture halls”.
Ransford Tege went on to question the justification for allocating a huge percentage of the education funds to other sectors. According to him, it is not fair that education is never considered when loans are taken and yet education funds are used for other purposes not pertaining to education.
“The loans they go to pick out from IMF and any other loan retriever agencies, how much of it goes into education? When was the last time you heard that government is spearheading a loan deal that is purposely meant to come back for this country to support education? When was the last time you heard that government is going for loan that is the talk of town that the sole aim of the loan is to make sure we restructure our education in this country? If education will be in component, it will be in one of the smallest components of why they are going for those loans. So, if education has not typically been the reason why we go for loans, why should you use educational loans to serve as collateral or to be paying for other loans?”
He went on to urge Parliament to put a stop to the use of the GETfund to be disbursed to other loan uses as the GETfund gets uncapped. He pleaded with the Parliament to heed to the needs of the Ghanaian student.
“The first thing we stated in our petition was that as a matter of urgency Parliament should scrap off any discussion about the formular for disbursement of GETfund for this year until GETfund is uncapped. So as a matter of urgency, parliament for once should listen to the cries of the ordinary Ghanaian student and the ordinary Ghanaian who is paying the GETfund levy knowing or unknowingly, voluntary or involuntarily to stop the formula propose by the Finance Ministry used to disburse GETfund, while we look into how we can uncap GETFund.”