The Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor William Otoo-Ellis, has called for pragmatic measures to tackle what he describes as “the rising cost of education”, which, according to him, “is gradually widening the gap between the rich and the poor”.
He said the issue called for strategising, prioritising, creativity and innovation by both parents and leaders, especially political leaders, in order not to deny the poor higher education.
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Annual Students’ Week
Prof. Ellis was speaking on the topic: ‘The rising cost of living in Ghana: Its impact on education,’ in Kumasi, during the Annual Students’ Week celebration in the Ashanti Region.
He said the high cost of living had become an untouchable subject because of its sensitivity and its apparent political undercurrent but insisted that it was better to address it holistically devoid of any biases.
According to Prof. Otoo-Ellis, “the cost of education is as important as its affordability”. He added that improving accessibility alone was not enough but there was the need to do more to cushion parents and, by extension, students.
He drew the connection between living conditions and education, saying, “if it is not addressed, a number of the youth will end up not having any training and will fall victim to social vices.”
High cost of living
He said the high cost of living, with its attendant low salary levels, put the students at risk to share the cost of running academic institutions through the payment of certain levies. It further put parents at their wits’ end, pointing out that the problem should not be considered as irrelevant in the national discourse.
He said development required attention from all fronts, especially the political will and parents’ efforts, to give some level of hope to the poor, particularly the brilliant ones, to enable them to reach the height of the educational ladder.
Prof. Otoo-Ellis urged the government to review its policies from time to time to make programmes and projects relevant and accessible to all.