‘Increase academic user fees to meet changing demands’
The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) has held its 11th congregation with a call on the government to consider increasing the academic user fees.
Both the Chancellor of the university Professor Jerry S. Y. Kuma and former President, John Agyekum Kufuor the Vice Chancellor, observed that the academic user fees which had not seen any upward adjustment for the past three years did not augur well for the administration of the school.
According to the Vice Chancellor (VC), for Ghana to develop beyond aid, there was an urgent need for investment in the institutions that will carry out quality scientific research and training to improve on their capacity for innovation and purposefully promote university-industry collaboration.
He said the crucial responsibility must be borne collectively among government, industry, the extractive sector, the finance and business sectors of the economy adding “philanthropy must also begin to feature strongly in education”.
The UMaT VC appealed to the government to consider professors in public universities who attained the age of 65 to continue teaching until age 70, since the universities needed such professors, who had gained a lot of experience through teaching over the years.
He also pleaded to the government to give clearance to UMaT to replace staff that have gone on retirement, resigned or passed on since the university was inadequately staffed due to the above mentioned causes.
Former President Kufuor on his part, made a passionate appeal to the management of the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) to urgently release the necessary funds to speed up the construction and completion of the legacy projects on UMaT campus, especially the four storey faculty block which was expected to house the increase in numbers of students, that would enter the university next year as a result of the Free Senior High School policy of the government.
He urged the government to increase the Academic User Fees of students, to enable the public universities to continue to deliver on their mandate of providing quality education to Ghanaians and other foreign nationals.
According to him, insufficient funding continued to be a major challenge for the university as far as teaching, research and learning were concerned adding “there is always a large funding gap between what government supports the university with, and what we generate from the collection of Academic User Fees”.
He appealed to the government through the Ministry of Education to help them get parliament to approve 2019/2020 fees schedules on time since there has not been any upward increase since 2016/2017.
The Deputy Minister for Education, Gifty Twum-Ampofo, in response to some of the concerns raised by the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor, said universities could retain lecturers who attained the age of 65 and pay their salaries from the internally generated funds (IGF) because of constitutional constraints.
She disclosed that a $500 million infrastructure upgrade through the GETFund securitisation programme, universities like UMaT would be considered because the university has remained focused on its core mandate in respect of the nature of programmes it ran and government believed in the nurturing of STEM.
A total of 494 students graduated as compared to 509 students last year.
Seventy-six students representing 15 per cent had first class honours, 273 with second class upper division and 92 having second class lower division.
Emmanuel Brempong Asiedu of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering was adjudged the overall best student and Miss Lydia Dede Obeng as the best female graduating student for 2019.
FROM PETER GBAMBILA, TARKWA