We’ll explore constitutional avenues to have fee increment concerns addressed – NUGS

The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has vowed to explore avenues provided by the Constitution to seek redress against the increment in fees by some public universities beyond the 15% threshold approved by Parliament for the 2022/2023 academic year.

NUGS has argued that the increment if implemented will have a toll on its members, fearing that majority of them will drop out of school.

Tertiary educational institutions were directed by the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) to increase their fees by 15%, a decision kicked against by various student groups.

The student groups insisted that some of the institutions including the University of Ghana had defied an order by Parliament instructing them to increase fees by 15%.

The management of UG however justified its decision.

Meanwhile, NUGS said it will do everything possible to have the universities stick to the 15% increment and nothing more.

This comes on the back of a scheduled meeting between the Education Minister, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, NUGS, management of some public universities and GTEC on Thursday 5, 2023.

Speaking on the Point Blank segment on Eyewitness News, the President of NUGS, Dennis Appiah Larbi-Ampofo, said “let’s set this straight that, nobody benefits from being insensitive to students, especially for our first-year students at the University of Ghana, who are being subjected to such an unfair situation. The whole world has seen what is happening. We as a student body won’t communicate our next line of action specifically, but one thing is sure, every single thing that the Constitution of this country provides as protection against administrative abuse by state institutions shall be explored by NUGS. This is an affront on Parliament”.

He added that the student body after compromising with the 15% increment, some public universities became insensitive and breached the law set by Parliament.

“Last year [2022], we met with the parliamentary select committee on education, the Ministry of Education, and all relevant stakeholders hoping to press home what we believe was a very important intervention for students. On November 16, 2022, we received news through GTEC that Parliament after weighing the prepositions from the universities and our appeal had settled on 15%. Initially, it wasn’t something we were happy with but as a matter of negotiations and compromise, we realised that, since school fees had not been increased over two years now, which is below the inflation rate, let’s manage and work with it.”

“But the problem came when we realised that, some of our public universities had breached the 15% set by Parliament. And that was quite worrying. We felt we had compromised, so the best the universities could do for students is to understandably be sensitive and just respect the law,” the NUGS President bemoaned.

Larbi-Ampofo warned that the union will not allow the public universities to have their way of charging anything above the 15%, cautioning that the arguments of fees had not been increased for the past two years and that they have to set their own rate “will not fly this year”.

“The University of Ghana lied when it said it didn’t increase fees in the 2019/2020/2021 academic year. University of Ghana’s statement put out is not accurate, they are misleading the public, we have receipts of students indicating that they indeed varied their fees,” NUGS President said.

He said they appreciate the University of Development Studies (UDS) for staying within the 15% limit.

“We appreciate UDS so much, they have been staying within the 15%, from Wa, to Navrongo, Tamale to Nyankpala,” Larbi-Ampofo remarked.

On his part, the International Relations Secretary for NUGS, Oppong Kyekyeku, said, “when you look at the fees from some of the universities, especially University of Education, Winneba, the charges they had placed on academic fees alone, some were in excess of 54%, of what they paid in the previous academic year”.