General News of Saturday, 1 July 2017
Parliament has called into question the public university practice of fining students who are late in paying their school fees.
The governmental body said that levying late fees is unconstitutional, and contradicts the laws governing university practices.
Some universities allegedly charge GHC 500-GHC 1000 for late payments of school fees. The Member of Parliament (MP), Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije called the practice “unsupportive behavior,” in a statement in Parliament. Mr. Vanderpuije compared the practice to commercial trade where penalties are levied for late payments under a contract.
Continuing the analogy, Vanderpuije said, “If this commercial trade is transferred to our educational system, it will be detrimental and suicidal for the poor in seeking affordable education.”
The MP also reported university strategies of “withholding students’ semester results, preventing them from attending lectures, writing quizzes, and some are even made to defer their programmes without their concurrence, with further humiliations, inhumane and degrading comments from school authorities.”
In a Supreme Court ruling in 2010 in the case of Federation of Youth Association of Ghana v. Public Universities of Ghana and Ors, it was ruled that “economic decline and structural economic adjustment programmes” has led to reduction in support for public universities.
Increased student enrollment without university expansions to support the swelling numbers of students has created complex problems, which require an improvement in resources and administration.
There are six Governments Universities, and 9 Professional Public Institutes/ Universities, 51 other University colleges, and Private Universities affiliated to the Government universities in Ghana.
Because free education has not been implemented in Ghana, the MP stressed the need to regulate late school fee charges so that people of lower incomes do not suffer the government’s inability to supplement education fees.