The President of the Garden City University College (GCUC) at Kenyase near Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Prof Edward Kwame Asante, has reiterated the call for the amendment of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) law, Act 581, 2000) to allow private universities to also benefit from the fund.
He said the private universities were also contributing to the manpower development of the country and as such, should be assisted to train the needed human resources for the development of Ghana.
For instance, he said GCUC, has been training personnel for the health sector over the years "and these people serve in the public sector" and therefore believed that if assisted, the private universities would churn out better trained manpower who would also contribute their quota to the nation.
Speaking to Graphic Online during the 15th matriculation of the college on Saturday, March 20, 2021, Prof Asante, said with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and its challenges, there was the need for the tertiary institutions to improve on their ICT infrastructure to enable them carry out online teaching.
He said it should be possible for private universities to access funding from the GETFund to improve on their infrastructure and make tertiary education accessible to all.
He said the focus should not only be on public universities that use their fees as internally generated fund for other projects and still benefit from support from the government while the private universities depend solely on the fees paid by students for everything.
According to him, the government could assist lecturers of private universities with scholarships to undertake research that could be used by government as well.
He said the biggest challenge facing most private universities aside funding was the ability to retain the best teaching staff.
Prof Asante explained that most of the lecturers used the private universities as a training ground and after gaining the needed experience, “they leave to join the public universities because the conditions there are far better than what we provide."
“We cannot pay them as the public sector because we depend on the fees for everything, from paying the staff to the running of the facility and we cannot use all the money to pay the lecturers,” he said.
Touching on the admission for the 2020-2021 academic year, he said contrary to the expectations that there would be an increase in enrolment from the free SHS graduates, “we had less than 100 students from the SHS system.”
He said most of them were absorbed by the public universities and even though the college had an increase in admission from last year, “most of them are students doing their top up.”
The college admitted a total of 1888 students, a 46.29 per cent increase of its previous year admission figures.
Prof Asante said there was a consistent increase in the college admission figures over the last few years.
From 576 in 2016-2017 academic year to 1888 this year.
As part of measures to improve on its online teaching and reduce the face to face interaction method of teaching due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Prof Asante said the GCUC has set up the Centre for Open Distance and e-Learning to provide alternatives and innovative opportunities to complement the face to face mode of learning.
This, he said has enabled the college to open new learning centres in Wa, Tamale and Takoradi.
The president of GCUC acknowledged that studying during this period “presents us all with immense challenges. I wish to advise that all of us should play our part in the fight against the pandemic by adhering strictly to all the prevention protocols.”
He said the measures taken by GCUC were comparable with those of other universities across the globe and even better.
“As you open this new chapter of your life, please note that education is not all about reading to pass your exams and score good grades.
“It is all about learning new things, adjusting to new surroundings, creating networks and forging bonds that will transform your future life,” he said.