The Member of Parliament for the Bawku Central constituency, Mahama Ayariga has threatened to head to court if public universities fail to seek Parliamentary approval of fees they charge.
There is uncertainty over the issue after school authorities instructed students to pay what Mr. Ayariga described as “illegal” fees.
The University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) earlier called on all students of public tertiary institutions not to pay their recently increased fees for the 2017/2018 academic year until Parliament approves the increase.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday, Mr. Ayariga who is also a member of the Subsidiary Legislation committee in Parliament said “it is important for Parliament to exercise oversight because with public universities government financing is going into them and so if you are charging fees we need to know exactly what the fees are for.”
“By law…all public institutions that are rendering service and charging for the service will have to bring their fees and charges to Parliament for approval before they can levy those fees and charges. Education institutions owned by the state must all submit fees they charge and charges that are levied for Parliament for approval. They have not been doing that, only one public university, Wa polytechnic, ever brought their fees to Parliament for approval.”
Worried by the issue, Mr. Ayariga confronted the sector ministers when they appeared before the vetting committee adding that “when they assumed office I wrote to them drawing their attention for the need for them to get the institutions under them to bring their proposal.”
He said all efforts including hurling the Education Minister to the Floor of Parliament to have the issue addressed proved futile.
“Parliament has gone on recess, universities are about to open, they have already given letters to new students on which fees to pay and those fees have not been approved by Parliament. And that is where we have a problem. And that is where I indicated that I gave you enough notice… and you had all the time and you refused to act within the time limit and the only way is to go to court and let the court to send a clear signal to the universities that they are under the law and they must act in accordance with the law,” he added.
Maintain existing academic fees – Council
Meanwhile, the National Council for Tertiary Education has asked management of the various public institutions to maintain the 2016/2017 academic year fees and charges; while Parliamentary approval is sought for any adjustments for the 2017/2018 academic year.
A statement issued by the Council, and signed by the Executive Secretary, Professor Mohamed Salifu, said: “The proposed fees and charges for the 2017/2018 Academic Year have been collated for consideration and approval by Parliament.”