Gov’t Support Still Vital For Public Universities – Prof Alabi

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies (UPSA), Professor Joshua Alabi, says it would not be ideal for public universities to be weaned off government subvention.

He said the UPSA is currently undertaking a number of major infrastructural projects which are being financed with loans and resources from the University’s internally generated funds.

He believes the withdrawal of government subvention to public universities would negatively impact on the quality of higher education in the country.

Prof. Alabi was responding to questions from mem­bers of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, who were strongly suggesting that the Uni­versity should be weaned off government subvention, based on the massive transformation at the UPSA in recent times.

These developments, they indicated, were testament to UPSA’s ability to generate enough resources for its operations.

But the Vice-Chancellor, who appeared before the Committee in the company of the University’s Registrar, Dr. Seidu Mohammed Mustapha, and the Director of Finance, Rev. J.K. Antwi, to clarify issues contained in the University’s 2010 statement of accounts emphasised that government must be committed to funding public universities to enable them to develop into world class institutions.

Speaking to a section of the media after the committee hearing, Professor Alabi intimated that left at their present levels, Ghanaian universities cannot be competitive, compared to other well-resourced and more established universities globally.

He believes the government must, therefore, continue to provide the needed support for all public universities in the country.

Prof. Alabi totally disagreed that the time was ripe to open public debates on the subject of withdrawing government subventions to public universities.

“There is enough research findings in the developed world that point to the fact that any cut backs, by governments, in subvention for university education only has short term benefits with very dire and unpleasant long term effects,” he emphasised.

“Notwithstanding any difficult economic times facing us presently, a university degree remains an exceptionally good investment for both the individual student as well as for the government, and to some extent, the taxpayer whose taxes are used for funding tertiary education. Collectively, we need to promote the value of higher education, rather than make the withdrawal of subventions an option for government to want to experiment with. Others have researched into these issues and taken firm positions on them. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” he concluded.

The Committee chaired by Kweku Agyemang Manu, Member of Parliament for Dormaa Central Constituency, praised UPSA and the Vice-Chancellor for ensuring up-do-date records of its financials.