The Chairman of Council of Independent Universities, Professor Albert Addo-Quaye, has appealed to government to support private universities with annual subventions to improve their infrastructure and operations, as most universities were folding up.
He said unlike the public universities who received annual subvention and infrastructural support from the government, most private universities were folding up due to financial challenges.
“Private Universities are facing challenges of debt financing as most are unable to service their bank loans. This situation has forced some universities to lay off staff, cease infrastructural development, delay payment of salaries, and reduce funding for research activities,” he said.
Professor Addo-Quaye said this on Friday at the commemoration of the first anniversary lecture of the Methodist University after attaining autonomy in Accra.
It was on the theme “Partnership between government, faith-based organisation and entrepreneurs on delivering quality education for national, African and global development”.
Professor Addo-Quaye said although public universities had multiple ways to deliver their academic programmes through distance education, operating satellite campuses across the country and running weekend, evening and sandwich programmes, private universities did not have such capacity to generate revenue.
He suggested that a form of funding arrangement should be worked out in which private universities which are able to absorb a certain number of free SHS students should receive the tuition funds (the Academic Facility User Fees – AFUF), which would otherwise had gone to public universities.
Professor Addo-Quaye added that a more systematic approach should be concluded by which private universities might access Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund) for infrastructural development, as there were several institutions which had room for expansion, but were constrained by high cost of capital expenditure funds.
He said the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund) could begin to offer debt financing to private universities at appropriately reduced rates, as the core mandate of the fund seeks to provide various supports towards improving education delivery in the country.
He, therefore, called for a strong partnership between the government, faith-based institutions and entrepreneurs to address challenges faced by private tertiary institutions to revamp their operations.