Struggling varsities advised to merge for survival

BY: Severious Kale-Dery,
Professor Kwesi Yankah
Professor Kwesi Yankah

The Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, has advised private universities having challenges in getting the right numbers for admission to merge in order not to fizzle out.

“If push comes to shove, private universities whose very survival is under threat need not insist on being stand-alone universities.

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“They could pool resources and merge as a consortium of universities sharing resources, and becoming bigger and more potent institutions,” Prof. Yankah told the Daily Graphic in an interview.

Private university colleges

Currently, there are over 70 private university colleges in the country offering both higher national diploma (HND) certificates and degrees according to the National Accreditation Board (NAB).

It is obvious that getting the complement of students by all these private universities has always been a challenge and this may have accounted for some of them resorting to admitting unqualified students.

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Way out for private universities

He said the way out was not for such universities to adopt irregularities and shortcuts to boost admission, but for them to mount new and innovative courses.

Prof. Yankah also urged such universities “to avoid the sheer copycat or imitation of what others are doing, but create something unique about themselves.”

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He said teaming up and forming alliances was the way out from the current predicament most university colleges in the country find themselves.

Current competition

“If mushrooming of universities is not helping, let’s prepare to share resources and merge where necessary in order to cope with the current competition.

“Indeed, in the next few years, when the respective products of the free SHS are ready for tertiary or university education, it is a reinforced and enlarged private sector we expect to partner government, and absorb the excess numbers,” Prof. Yankah advised managers of the private universities.

He, therefore, urged them to start planning in order to take advantage of the huge numbers of students who would be seeking tertiary education under the Free SHS policy.

Removal of corporate tax

Prof. Yankah asked the private universities to take advantage of the “current friendly environment with the abolition of the 25 per cent corporate tax to use their meagre surpluses saved to reinvest into the expansion of infrastructure, libraries and the introduction of innovative programmes as well as the creation of scholarship schemes for brilliant poor students.”