The Chairman of the Heads of Private Universities Conference, Professor Kwesi Yankah, who made the statement, said it was unfair that the private universities had to work hard for many years to acquire their charters, while newly built public universities got their charters to award their degree certificates as soon as they started operating.
Currently, only Valley View University, out of the 60 private universities in the country, can award its own certificates while the others remain affiliated to the public universities which award their students with certificates.
Prof. Yankah, the immediate past Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana and the President of the Central University College, made the remarks at the launch of the maiden edition of the International Private University Conference in Accra on Thursday.
The conference slated for July, 2014, to be organised by the Institute of Leadership and Management in Education, is intended to highlight the contribution of private universities to national development. It would be held on the theme; “The contributions of private universities in the globalisation of higher education and beyond”.
Prof. Yankah said it was not fair for the government to subsidise the public universities alone and deprive private universities of government interventions such as the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), state scholarships and even subsidies for infrastructure expansion.
Moreover, he said, the government had proposed a tax to be paid by private universities which could lead to the increment in fees.
Until recently, private universities in Ghana were exempted from the payment of corporate tax in accordance with Section 10 (1d) of the Internal Revenue Act. The Internal Revenue Act (Act 592) was amended by Act 859 in May, this year, with the aim of bringing private universities into the tax net.
Prof. Yankah debunked public perception that private universities were profit earners and said, “people should not think that private universities are swimming in luxury”.
Extra money gained from the universities, he explained, were used for infrastructure development and human capacity building, among others, to sustain the schools.
He urged the government to rather support the private universities which were contributing immensely to human resource development in the country.
The Chief Operations Officer of the Institute of Leadership and Management in Education, Nii Armah Addy, said the conference would be held annually in different countries.
Designed for academics, educational policy makers, educational investors and leaders from higher education institutions across the world, he said, the conference would promote the various private universities and award young graduates of private universities across the world who had distinguished themselves.
By Salomey Appiah/Daily Graphic/Ghana