By Isaac Aidoo
Private Universities in Ghana say they are bleeding from the payment of huge sums of money to the National Accreditations Board (NAB) as charges for various activities while they are also required to pay multiple affiliation levies to the institutions they are affiliated to.
President of the Regent University of Science and Technology and Vice President of the Association of African Universities, Professor Nicholas Nsowah-Nuamah says the development is threatening the survival the institutions.
This comes on the back of government’s announcement in the 2018 budget of the scrapping of the corporate income tax off the books of private universities.
“The Affiliation System as required by law is expensive and time consuming, adding huge costs to the budget of private universities and sometimes delaying innovation and speed,” Prof Nsowah-Nuamah said in his address to congregants at Regent’s 11th Congregation over the weekend.
He was speaking on the topic “Sustenance of Private Universities in Ghana: Strategic Options-The Role of Private Universities.”
“For example, a University College wants to run just one particular programme and if it has to be run under a new mentoring university, there is the need to pay for Institutional affiliation ranging between $5000 and $7,000 and is renewable annually,” he explained.
Private tertiary universities in Ghana have lamented threatening challenges which have included stiff competition from public universities in student enrolment and infrastructural facilities.
“There have been consistent dwindling enrolment numbers for some time now due to the rising numbers of tertiary institutions, fears and unfair competitions from public universities,” he said.
Addressing congregants at Regent last weekend Prof Nsowah-Nuamah noted that public universities were building campuses across the country, offering various distance programmes at a fee relatively lower than that of the private ones.
He contended that public universities absorbed all qualified prospective students and went on to admit students with weaker passes in English and Mathematics in the West African Senior Secondary Examinations, which were hitherto reserved for the private universities.
This, he said, had negatively affected their financial situation coupled with high operational and personnel costs, thereby constraining their infrastructural development.
He therefore, appealed to the government to support the private universities and scrap the affiliation system in the tertiary educational level in view of the huge affiliation fees private universities paid to their mentoring institutions.
While commending government’s decision to scrap the 25 per cent corporate tax on tertiary educational institutions, he asked for more subventions from government to survive since they provided employment to many Ghanaians and contributed their quota towards national development.
“One private university owes its mentoring institution almost GHȼ90,000.00 for just running one programme with very few students. In fact, the sustenance of private universities had become a critical issue for consideration.
“These universities are saddled with loans from commercial banks, which has become a necessary evil in order to keep afloat,” he stressed.
Prof. Nsowah-Nuamah therefore called for investments from corporate entities and individuals as pertaining in other countries so that private tertiary educational institutions could contribute to national development.
In all, 398 students were awarded Bachelor of Science and Arts Degrees, including; four students who graduated with Masters in Science Statistics.
She received GHȼ1,000.00, a laptop computer and a certificate for her efforts.
Currently, there are 74 universities in the country and statistics from the National Council for Tertiary Education indicate that private universities constituted 20 per cent of total enrolment at the tertiary level, 45 per cent for the public universities and the remaining 35 per cent enrolled in the polytechnics, nursing and teacher training colleges.