University Education and the Poor Families in Ghana

…Visa Vie Exorbitant Private Hostel Accommodations

University Education is not the preserve and should not be the preserve of children of the affluent class. University education is the highest tertiary level studies for excellence in degree courses in various disciplines and for scientific researches. Post-Independence University and all levels of education were free to both the rich and the poor. Kwame Nkrumah had to Fastrack the need for trained manpower to fit into the vacant positions left over by the exit of the colonial master within the civil and public services.

Hundreds of brilliant aggregates six and eight students were offered scholarships to train in most of the developed countries with the aim of coming back with higher critical thinking and productive knowledge to assume responsibilities IN the industrial technology transfers initiated to produce most of our needs locally. Local Students of Most levels of education were paid allowances for attending the following institutions. Teachers, Nurses, and Technical, mostly enjoyed such privileges. The writer also enjoyed it. Population at that time, was about Six million and the economy could support such viable policies home and pay for the scholarships of those in foreign universities. There are certain fundamentals of the human needs, which when provided, makes life and democracy meaningful to the people. One of them is free education. University education is very expensive and therefore, cannot be fully funded by any Government. Not even in the developed countries.

Over the several years after 1966, Governments of Ghana have not planned effectively on policies for education up to the University level and has therefore created infrastructural deficit all over the country, including university student’s accommodation capacity.  Student enrollment has more than quadrupled, and currently, University admissions are always more than the number of accommodations on the campuses. The admissions authority has for long resulted to the notoriously abused colonial legacy of protocol allocations. This means that, students are considered for on campus accommodation which are reasonably priced, to the children of the big men, lectures and those who can do something. How can the village boy or girls’ parent, have any big man or contact in Accra or elsewhere, to lobby for a cheaper protocol accommodation on campus? Some of these deprived students most often have excellent aggregates but whose Parents cannot afford the high rental charges of the private hostels. Who cares about them? They only must go home and continue to be liabilities to their parents.

Under the guises of property-owning democracy, the Nation has shirked the responsibility of Government building reasonable rented accommodation on campuses, to Private wealthy individuals to establish huge Hostels throughout the country for rentals at exploitative rates to poor students. It is about time in my view, that the Hostel business in the Country, is regulated in line with rent control laws of the country. It is about time we establish a University Endowment Fund purposely to help all aggregate 6/8 very poor students. That will motivate those rural poor children to strife for higher academic excellence at all times.

While Public University accommodation goes for 800GHS a year, the last time I checked, the Private hostels go for 3,000GHS a year for lower rates and 6000GHs a year for the affluent Hostels. We have gradually over the years, created a class society among our students and that will obviously transcend down to the real-world life of the students and breed corruption when they are engaged in state responsibilities.

It is obvious that government cannot provide everything at this time of our economic difficulties, and I admit that, but it must also be the responsibility of Government to make sure that her students live under a fair society where opportunities are distributed base on merit and not by Protocol nor wearing Political Party Colors.

By Ofori Ampofo

The writer is the President of the National Crusaders Alliance (NCA), and the Local President of the Ghana Leadership Union (GLU). He will soon launch an Independent Presidential Campaign Document for change. A gift for Ghana to decide.

Secretary: Jeorge Wilson Kingson – 0244822034. (Call to join the crusade.)

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