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NUGS protests against increasing school levies

BY: Samuel K. Obour

The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has protested against what it describes as the ‘outrageous proliferation of unjustified school fees and levies’ being demanded by educational institutions.

It said the leadership of NUGS was particularly not happy with the manner in which the fees were charged to the displeasure of “our students as compared to the diminutive nature of structural and educational development policies attached to these levies over the years.”

A statement jointly issued by the NUGS Education Secretary, Eugene Ackom-Damtey, and the General Secretary, Louisa Atta-Agyemang, therefore, called on the Ministry of Education, the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), Vice Chancellors, Ghana (VCG), Ghana Education Service (GES), and the National Conference of Principals of Colleges of Education (PRINCOF) to, as a matter of urgency, respond to their plight and forestall those payments before the end of July 2013.

That, it said, was because students would have to make payments before they would be allowed to register, in addition to their school fees and residence fees for the new academic year, which begins in August.

“We wish to state in plain terms that we will relentlessly pursue this concern until the authorities give heed to our petition because we are very committed to making life comfortable for our students. This attitude of rampantly imposing unjustifiable and increasing levies on our students by some stakeholders and the authorities of our member institutions must come to a halt,” it said.

The statement added that the attention of the National Executives of the NUG had been drawn to the fact that the school authorities of its member institutions had been imposing unjustifiable levies on students as part of their schedule of fees for three consecutive years, including the 2013/2014 academic year, while there was little or no improvement in structural and educational development policies attached to the levies over the years

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The concern, NUGS  statement said, was highly expressed when the national officers of the union met all students representative councils (SRCs) and Local NUGS executives as well as Bloc executives at its Central Committee (CC) meeting held at Christian Service University College (CSUC) on Tuesday.

“It was well noted that even our basic schools, senior high schools, nursing training colleges, teacher training colleges, professional institutions, polytechnics and private institutions are also facing similar hefty levies being imposed on students as part of their school fees while they continue to pay expensive residence / hostel fees and feeding fees,” it said.

The statement said following the report, the National Executives had performed meticulous checks in its member institutions and the “union by this statement calls on all stakeholders to, as a matter of urgency, forestall the payments of certain charges, which are examples of the numerous unjustifiable and burdensome charges that the university authorities are imposing on our colleagues.”

It cited the University of Ghana, Legon, which was charging GH¢100 as Physical Development Levy for the 2013/2014 academic year in addition to school fees ranging from GH¢746 to GH¢1781 before paying for expensive hostel/residence fees on campus.

“There are also hefty faculty and departmental charges at the University of Cape Coast (UCC). Some of the departments are even charging as much as GH¢ 250.The general exorbitant hike in the school fees for the University of Development Studies (UDS): (Wa, Tamale, Nyankpala and Navrongo Campuses) by the Management of UDS also raises concern,” it said.