UPSA V-C calls for public-private partnership to fund tertiary education
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies (UPSA), Accra, Prof. Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey, has stressed the need to develop comprehensive public-private partnerships to explore sustainable streams of income for the running of public universities in the country.
He said such a measure would complement the 12 per cent funds allocated to public higher education institutions by the Ghana Education Trust fund (GETFund).
“The over-reliance on the GETFund is a limitation to the operations of public universities, given the increasing number of students in the institutions. Also, it has oftentimes caused delays and other budgetary constraints,” Prof. Amartey added.
The V-C was speaking at the third policy dialogue on making the Ghana GETFund fit for purpose at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) in Accra yesterday.
It provided a platform for stakeholders drawn from public and private universities, Parliament, business and industry, higher education sector players and civil society organisations to discuss financing challenges confronting higher education in the country.
The participants also examined the performance of the GETFund with regard to higher education institution funding in the last two decades, among others.
The dialogue formed part of a GAAS project on “Motivating higher education reforms in Ghana-towards equity and sustainability".
The project which spans 2022 to 2024, was designed to gather evidence, share information and provide a platform for building consensus and also contributing to policy formulation on higher education in the country.
It is being funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the United States.
Prof. Amartey further suggested that “there is the need to also have a template that places more emphasis on funding tertiary level education than the pre-tertiary sector to give meaning to the GETFund”.
In that regard, he said there must be improvement on the fund’s efficiency by “developing an entrepreneurship mindset at all levels within the administration of the fund and also encourage public-private partnerships to drive more support from the private sector".
On statutory capping and realignment of the fund under Act 947 of 2017, he called on the government to review the act to enable the institution to provide more infrastructure for tertiary schools.
The V-C observed that although the GETFund Act 581 of 2000 (section 8 (1) mandated the fund to submit annually to Parliament for approval a formula for the distribution of funds to tertiary, secondary and the basic levels of education, as well as other related aspects of education, it was necessary to consider allocating more resources to funding tertiary education.
He said the current 2.5 per cent of the Value Added Tax (VAT) allocated to the GETFund was inadequate and, therefore, must be reviewed upwards.
Two former Administrators of the GETFund, Sam Garba and Fosuaba Mensah Banahene, mentioned funding delays as some of the challenges facing the establishment.
The current GETFund Administrator, Dr Richard Ampofo Boadu, said he took a decision to focus on the realignment section of the law which enabled him to rake in more revenue for the fund-- from GH¢1.8 billion to GH¢2.3 billion-- this year.