Parliament has rejected a motion to suspend the payment of admission fees by tertiary students for the 2020/21 academic year.
Speaking in Parliament, the Education Minister-designate, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum said Vice-Chancellors across tertiary institutions do not consider the proposal, brought by Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga as a matter of priority.
“I have spoken to a number of vice-chancellors who are telling me they don’t know what is going on in this house.
“They are saying that on a scale a preference this not what they are going to ask us to do for them,” he told the Speaker Alban Bagbin.
Mahama Ayariga had petitioned Speaker Alban Bagbin to request approval to move a motion for the suspension of the payment of admission fees for tertiary students in the 2020/21 academic year.
He said that it was worrying students were paying huge sums of money before they were allowed in school, considering the fact that the country is still trying to recover from a pandemic which has had adverse effects on the economic activities of citizens.
He believes many families are still struggling and cannot, therefore, afford the fees they are being asked to pay.
Speaking on Top Story, JoyNews’ Kwaku Asante who had been in parliament said five persons from each side of the House were chosen to argue for or against the motion.
The Minority he said supported Mr Ayariga’s motion.
North Tongu MP and former Deputy Minister for Education Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said it was necessary for to leaders find ways to cushion citizens in difficult times and ensure their welfare is protected.
The Covid-19 pandemic, in his view, is a typical situation.
He said it was essential for the country to also assist in reducing the financial strain on foreign students in the country.
According to him, these students hail from 33 African countries. Others are from Canada and Germany and Mr Ablakwa believes it is only fair for these students to be cushioned, especially because their countries offer grants to these universities.
“The universal declaration of human rights, Mr Speaker, make education a right. The UN admonishes all governments to ensure that whatever barriers will get in the way of their nationals, they should do well to get those barriers out of the way,” he said.
However, the motion did not have enough votes to be passed.
Dr Adutwum said encourgaed Mahama Ayariga who brought the motion to parliament to comduct a survey that establishes the need to suspend the payment of admission fees.
“Let me give an example, Mr Speaker a number of universities have opened. The students have registered and they are in place.”
“If my colleague came to the House to say that the students hadn’t shown up in school, it is a different argument,” he added.
Dr Adutwum, who has on his own paid the fees of about 30 engineering students, said while he does not oppose the motion, Vice-Chancellors at the various universities do not see it as a necessity.
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