The Youth Institute for Democratic Initiative (YIDI -Ghana) humbly calls on Government to restore the tax exempt status of private universities in the country.
Considering the inability of public universities to admit the ever increasing number of Senior High School graduates annually, private universities serve as the only hope and option for thousands of Senior High School graduates who are unable to attend public universities due to inadequate number of facilities at public universities.
Article 25 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana clearly holds the State responsible for the provision of equal educational opportunities by saying, “all persons shall have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities and with a view to achieving the full realisation of that right”.
As such, access to university education is not only a right to be enjoyed by Ghanaian students, the State also has the responsibility to make university education totally accessible to all by providing facilities and making arrangements possible for private investors within the educational sector to effectively provide university education for all and sundry.
Administrators of these private universities have no alternative than to increase the tuition fees of students in order to accommodate the payment of taxes. This will not only render access to private university education in Ghana expensive, it will also deny qualified Senior High School graduates their right to university education. Unemployment could also result as most workers of these private universities stand the risk of being laid off to accommodate the payment of taxes.
As the cost of private university education increases, we the youth stand to suffer most. Our dreams and aspirations to obtaining university education will forever disappear. The youth will have no option but to result to the streets with the only perception that their country denied them access to university education.
The 63 private universities and colleges in Ghana admit 26% of Senior High School graduates who gain admission into various universities in Ghana. In the 2011/2012 academic calendar alone, 50,000 students were admitted by private universities in Ghana. These thousands of Senior High School graduates cannot be denied access to university education because of taxes.
We must certainly place human interest ahead of economic principles. We ask, where lies the future of Ghana if its future leaders, the youth, have no access to university education?
We the youth of Ghana solemnly make a humble appeal to Government to re-consider its decision and restore the tax exempt status of private universities in Ghana to help the youth in accessing university education.
Kwadwo Nketiah Michael.
Deputy Communications Director