The Minister of State responsible for tertiary education, Prof Kwesi Yankah, has met the management and student leaders of the University of Ghana, Legon, concerning alleged plans to privatize some of the school’s halls of residence.
The meeting followed calls by the Student Representative Council (SRC) on the government to intervene in the university management’s decision to privatise some of the halls to defray a judgment debt awarded against the school.
The privatization is to enable the university to offset a GHS43 million loan it took to build the halls, which has shot up to GHS528 million due to interest charges coupled with the school’s failure to repay the loan by the agreed time.
The students, however, say the privatization of Hilla Limann, Alexander Adum Kwapong, Elizabeth Frances Sey and Jean Nelson Aka halls is likely to lead to an increase in fees charged for residential accommodation.
The statement from the Education Ministry, however, urged the students “to exercise restraint as steps are being taken to resolve the impasse.”
Below is the ministry’s full statement:
On this day 17th of May 2019, the Ministry of Education, led by the Minister of State In Charge of Tertiary Education, Prof Kwesi Yankah, met with the management of the University of Ghana and the leadership of the student body on the alleged privatisation of UGEL hostel.
The Minister of State has come to appreciate the implications of the situation of the debt burden on the University of Ghana, Legon and has indicated his readiness and that of the ministry to meet with the leadership of the consortium of banks and the management of the university to find an amicable solution before the negotiated deadline of 31st of May 2019.
However, the minister of state explained that this matter is strictly the responsibility of the University of Ghana Council, but the government has expressed interest in the matter because of [the] public interest [involved] and its implications for academic stability on the university’s campuses.
The ministry has appealed to the leadership of the student body to exercise restraint as steps are being taken to resolve the impasse.
The minister also drew the attention of the stakeholders at the meeting to the expected influx of students in the universities in the 2020 academic year due to Free SHS policy and expressed the hope that an amicable outcome could be reached soon.