Public University Admission Crisis…The Rich & Privileged Take Over
The controversy surrounding admissions into public universities and other tertiary institutions this academic year has taken an interesting but depressing twist as reports reaching the Scandal indicate that it is mainly the rich and the privileged who get admitted into the public universities.
The reason is that it now cost GH¢2,000 or more on the average to secure a place in these universities. The situation is made worse in view of the large numbers of students that have qualified as against the very few places available.
About 400,000 students comprising two streams of Senior High School leavers are seeking admissions into these universities this year but there are less than a 100,000 places are available. This situation is made worse with over 50,000 protocol requests (wards of the rich and powerful) ready to be granted.
Although the Minister of Education, Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, recently called for an immediate end to the phenomenon of protocol admissions of students to the country’s universities and second-cycle schools, the status quo remains.
Parents whose wards are not fortunate to be admitted into the main stream have to apply as Fee paying students or International students with its attendant exorbitant fees paid in foreign currencies. The academic user fee is way above the income of the average Ghanaian worker. Indeed fees in Ghana’s public universities have doubled and gone way beyond the means of most Ghanaian parents in the last four years.
While newly admitted students at UG offering Humanities are required to pay GH¢ 778.00, their counterparts who are branded Full-Fee paying students are required to pay GH¢2, 340.
Students offering Applied Sciences are also to satisfy the required fee of GH¢972.00 with their preferred Fee paying counterparts pay GH¢3,776.00.
The story is not different in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). While regular students who offer the Sciences are to pay GH¢730.13, Fee Paying students must mobilize GH¢7,000.00. And these fee paying are always given the first consideration.
The current trend of paying your way through and opting to be a full fee-paying student has become a necessary evil because of infrastructural deficit at the various public universities.
Indeed a cursory look at the number of students admitted so far indicates that the number has gone up marginally despite earlier assurances by government that infrastructure at the various universities would be improved to accommodate more students.
Although Government had devoted an amount of Seven Million Ghana Cedis for the construction of special projects to help make room for an expanded intake of students this year, there is very little to be seen on the various campuses.
The University of Ghana, admitted 17,000 students last year but according to our source, the premier university is maintaining the figure.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology on the other hand, has increased its intake from last year’s 13,000 to 17,000.
Meanwhile, the 2013 Global Corruption Report (GCR) has revealed that corruption is impacting negatively on the education of children in many developing economies.
A statement issued by the Ghana Integrity Initiative said ‘corruption has undermined the reputation of the education sector in many countries. Almost one in five people worldwide paid bribes to education services last year, according to Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer. Ghana is not an exception.
For example, the GCR 2013 reports that 40% of Ghanaians surveyed in the Global Corruption Barometer recently had to pay a bribe. Also, on a scoring of perception of corruption of sectors, the education sector was scored 4 out of a maximum score of 5, being most corrupt.
The rate of teacher absenteeism was comparatively high as 24% of teachers were reported missing classes, attributable to inadequate formal supervision and disciplinary action.’
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