Ablakwa projects gov’t investment in private tertiary education

Mr Alakwa(fifth from left) in a group photograph with  some  officials of the school  (1)The Deputy Minister of Education Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has dispelled allegations that government is not committed to the development of private tertiary institutions in the country.

He said government has invested heavily in the private tertiary education sector and such investments must be recognised by persons who intend to take a swipe at the government regarding its contributions to private tertiary education in the country.

Speaking at the 11th graduation ceremony of the Islamic University College of Ghana (IUCG) in Accra, Mr. Ablakwa said the surge in numbers of private tertiary institutions, granting of tax wavers and the maintenance of incentives in the sector were deliberate policies which were contributing to the private tertiary education front to offer many more Ghanaian students the opportunity to have university education.

His remarks comes in the wake of calls on President John Dramani Mahama by the Private University Students Association of Ghana to sack the Deputy Minister for failing to champion the course of private universities to have their charter among others.

But Mr. Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, said the calls were misplaced and urged the students to do further research before coming public on such issues.

“Though the GETFund act does not permit us to invest in infrastructure on the various private university campuses, we do other investments in our private university students,” he stated.

He said there are tax wavers for items imported into the country by private universities which would be used for teaching and learning.

Government, Mr. Ablakwa reiterated has ensured that private university students are permitted to access the GETFund in two main ways including GETFund scholarships and making the students’ loan accessible to private students.

“It cannot be true that government is not paying attention to private university students or we don’t seem to support the academic endeavours of private tertiary students countrywide,” he stated.

He explained that the granting of a presidential charter has nothing to do with the Ministry of Education but was a sole mandate of the National Accreditation Board.

“The National Accreditation Board has not laid any proposal before the President for him to sign a presidential charter which he has failed to do.”

The processes of obtaining charters Mr. Ablakwa said must be allowed including mentorship by a public university, governance structure, facilities and a stated number of faculties, instead of stampeding authorities to take actions that could be inimical to tertiary education in the country.

President of the IUCG, Dr. Alireza A´rafi, in his welcome address commended the government for taking bold steps towards nibbing religious intolerance in the bud.

He said the recent demand for Muslim women and girls to take off their hijab during work and school hours has the propensity to deny many Muslim students who may feel reluctant to take off their hijabs.

In all, a total of 180 students were awarded various bachelor’s degrees with 147 graduating in business administration programmes with the remaining 37 obtaining bachelor’s degrees in religious studies.

The graduation was on the theme: “Religious tolerance in education, the panacea for global peace”.

By Julius Yao Petetsi

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