Ghana has not had a policy regulating tertiary education in the country, at least not in the last twenty years.
The Minister of State-in-charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, disclosed that the tertiary education space was only being regulated by guidelines.
“There is no policy. There are only guidelines. We don’t have any tertiary education policy at the moment,” he said.
The minister added that “at the moment, the committee working on it was about to hand in their report” and that by the end of September, he expects the policy document to be ready.
According to him, ensuring that this policy was ready was “the most important thing we [government] would like to do” for tertiary education in Ghana.
“There was one in the 90s or so which gave guidelines about the percentage of foreign students a university can allow and so on and so forth. There’s no policy document at the moment, we have only guidelines. And we are bent on having one…At the moment the committee working on it is almost done.”
This notwithstanding, Prof Yankah said the absence of the policy “doesn’t mean that you [universities] do whatever you want.”
When the matter of increasing school fees by tertiary institutions came up, Prof Yankah appeared helpless when he said that although universities had been asked not to charge new fees, they were flouting it.
Prof Yankah further indicated that a tertiary policy could have saved the University of Ghana from the now-controversial Africa Integras deal.
“What happened at Legon about the Africa Integras [deal] would probably not have happened if there had been a policy requiring universities to refer certain loans beyond a certain threshold to the Attorney General.”
In 2015, the University of Ghana entered into a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with Africa Integras to invest US$64 million in the construction of 1,000 new students’ hostel beds for undergraduate and post-graduate students on the Legon campus.
The project was structured as a 25-year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract.
The management of the University has been compelled to debunk reports that it incurred a $160 million judgement debt following a decision by a UK arbitrator.
It has also been saddled with a lawsuit over contentions of financial loss caused to the state.
Prof. Yankah also said a probe into the workings of the deal would be worthwhile in the future.
“It would be worth stepping back after the dust has settled to investigate all that happened to ensure that a University of the stature of Legon would have laid down regulations by which decisions are taken. I think the university would want to investigate so that it doesn’t really happen again.”