Pro Vice Chancellor of University of Cape Coast (UCC), Prof George Kweku Toku Oduro has described as erroneous, the public perception that public universities in Ghana create money and share.
On the contrary, Professor Oduro explains that public universities across the continents heavily rely on their Internally Generated Funds (IGFs) which in reality are woefully inadequate for administrative purposes.
He said “It is unfortunate that people create the impression that the Universities are well resourced and that through the internally generated funds, Universities create monies and share among themselves. Government, since the NDC era have made indications of such notions which is unfortunate.
For instance, they think that University of Cape Coast’s Distance Education enrolls so many people and the fees charged become revenue for the University for buying vehicles and all those things for the University.”
University of Cape Coast (UCC) College of Distance Education (CoDE) building
Professor Oduro said, since the introduction of the cost sharing policy by the Ghana government in 1997, universities have never received full government subvention, a situation he indicated spells doom for the development of university education in the country.
Professor Oduro made the statement in a speech delivered at the Vice Chancellors Ghana (VCG) conference on higher education held at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Speaking on the theme, Dwindling Budgetary Allocations: Implications for Quality Education’ Professor Oduro said the seeming non-performance by most universities on the continent is as a result of poor financing by government.
“Government has a responsibility for the Universities in terms of funding. From 2011 to date, in some of the Universities, the only subvention that has gotten to the Universities is compensation that takes care of salary. Even that, some Universities have to borrow money with interest to pay before the government releases the money, maybe three months after” he noted.
According to Professor Oduro, though governments over the years have made giant strides in cushioning universities with the introduction of GETFUND, the fund due to its increased coverage to include all levels of education in the country, can no longer serve its purpose in the universities, forcing institutions to fall on their internally generated funds to augment government efforts.
“Go to our lecture theaters, the number of students are increasing but infrastructure is not increasing. GETFUND was setup in 2000 to help universities cater for those needs but along the line, government diverted the focus so now, almost every individual and institution get money from GETFUND. if you come to University of Cape Coast, there are many GETFUND funded projects that have been left uncompleted, quick reference will be the science lab that government started, it’s almost about eight years now and it is still there.
So the IGF that comes through distance program, in the case of UCC, you can talk about the water project, the fuel dam and others, those monies that come up are the monies the University uses to augment what the government provides” he concluded.
He said for Universities in Africa to deliver quality education, it will require governments to recognize the important role of higher education in the development of the country and highly prioritize its budgetary support for universities.
Prof George Kweku Toku Oduro
He indicated that , “If the universities have budgeted an amount to embark on a project within an academic year and government has a portion to give to the universities and that portion comes close to the end of the academic year or after the academic year, then definitely we cannot achieve that. Government should try to make subventions to the universities on time.
We cannot say that universities must deliver and at the same time, refuse to help the universities to deliver by delaying what they need to work with. Take the teaching of science for instance, it is not going on well because the libraries are not properly equipped so the best the lecturers can do is to focus on the theory so there are many people who have come out with first class in theory but very bad in practicals.”
Source: Kojo Dei/ATL FM News