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Opinions of Sunday, 14 November 2010

Columnist: Amese, Fred K

Increasing cost of Tertiary Education in Ghana

Increasing cost of Tertiary Education in Ghana; a case of Constitutional impotence.

BY: Fred K Amese

The right to Education is a fundamental right enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. Article 25 (c) state: “higher education shall be made equally accessible to all on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular, by progressive introduction of free education”.
Any Ghanaian pursuing higher education (tertiary education) will vehemently agree to the fact that higher education has over the years proven to be progressively expensive. On the issue of accessibility, the least said about it the better.

What baffles me is that we have very brilliant legislators in parliament who look on unconcerned as this constitutional provision is blatantly disregarded, ignored and breached. Many of these parliamentarians enjoyed free lunch during their days in the University. They had good, spacious free accommodation and majority of them had their fees absorbed by government. They had virtually everything FREE.
I refuse to believe that these law-makers are ignorant of the provision of Article 25 (c). May be they just do not care or they are just too busy with other issues of which political commentator has made comments to “cause fear and panic”.
I believe it is high time our parliamentarians and lead the crusade to make sure that we give meaning to this provision otherwise if we as a country believe that we do not have what it takes to make higher education progressively free then let us stop the pretence. The current review process presents us with the following options:
1. If we believe that the problem is with the implementation and that we have the capacity and ability to make it happen then let us use this opportunity to make the clause an entrenched one so that we will have to option but to comply.
2. If we believe that the country that does not have the capacity to make the introduction of progressive free higher education a reality, then let us expunge this Article from the constitution. There is no need playing the ostrich.
I hope we as a people will begin to respect the laws of our land and concern ourselves with issues that unite us and secure our future instead of the usual NPP-NDC politics that seeks to polarize virtually everything including the water we drink.

(The author is the Northern Coordinator for Youth Network for Human Rights and Democracy You-Net and currently studying at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University for Development Studies Tamale. He welcomes your comments via