Gov’t meets VCs over 34% IGF cash…as Ministry halts forms increment

Prof Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education

The Ministry of Education is set to hold a crunch meeting with the Vice Chancellors of Ghana (VCG) to take a final decision on an earlier directive for all public universities to cede 34 percent of their Internally Generated Funds (IGF) to central government.

The meeting, which is scheduled for next week, is expected to bring clarity to the directive and help public universities properly plan for successive semesters. The outcome of the meeting will have a direct bearing on fees per semester paid by current students, and cost of application forms for prospective students.

Public universities had earlier expressed concern about the directive to cede 34 percent of their IGF to government, arguing that central government funding alone is not enough to meet their current and future needs.

Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at a graduation ceremony of the Kumasi-based university called on government to reconsider the policy of universities remitting part of their internally generated funds to government.

He said at a time when universities are grappling with how to fund teaching, research, and other community services, government cannot continue to take away their meagre source of funding.

“I vividly recall the days when universities received prompt monthly subventions from government. This afforded them the opportunity to properly plan and execute their mandate.

“It is sad to note the prompt payment of subventions has become a thing of the past and universities cannot do any serious planning, which is affecting the execution of academic and research activities.

“To compound the problem, universities cannot rely on internally generated funds to remedy the situation because of a new law recently passed by Parliament which requires that universities must remit 34% of their IGF to government,” the Asantehene said at the climax of a graduation session as part of the 51st congregation ceremony at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ebenezer Owusu Oduro, also commenting on the impact of the new directive during the graduation ceremony of the university in July last year noted that: “The allocation of goods and services for the tertiary education sub-sector ranges between one and three percent of the sub-sector’s total budget, making it virtually impossible to carry out planned activities.

“The university has not received clearance to employ new full-time staff; a large chunk of IGF therefore goes to paying critical staff which the university has taken on to ensure that academic work is not negatively affected. Having to relinquish 34 percent of IGF will put the university in very dire financial straits.”

On his part, the Vice Chancellor-University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Professor Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey, appealed for government to allow public universities to keep the entire 100 percent of their internally generated funds (IGF).

He explained that this would facilitate smooth functioning of the universities in order to produce the needed manpower for the nation’s socio-economic development.

Halt in admission forms increase

The B&FT on Monday, January 15, 2018 first reported an increment in the cost of university admission forms. This prompted the Tertiary Education division of the Education Ministry to issue a directive that all public universities must halt any such increments.

Checks by the B&FT revealed that public universities in the country have indeed increased the sale of admission forms for undergraduate and diploma courses for the 2018/2019 academic year.

Prof. Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, told the B&FT that under no circumstance must universities increase their admission form fees, saying: “Assuming that the 34 percent IGF is what is making them increase the admission forms, the universities should consider the impact it will have on potential students”.

He said the ministry is formulating a new guideline within the context of tertiary education, given that the existing one is more than 20 years and needs to be fine-tuned in keeping up with current trends.

“Sale of admission forms is a process of getting students into the school before they pay tuition fees, so we can’t use that to stop students from getting into the school as some students even buy multiple forms,” he said.

He urged universities to “Find innovative ways of raising funds rather than through tuition fees and sale of admission forms”.

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