News > Speech by Akora Prof. Ernest Aryeetey
Speech by Akora Prof. Ernest Aryeetey
Akora Professor Ernest Aryeetey

ADDRESS BY PROFESSOR ERNEST ARYEETEY, VICE CHANCELLOR,
UNIVERSITY OF GHANA AT THE 84
1 H SPEECH AND PRIZE-GIVING DAY OF
ACHIMOTA SCHOOL,
12TH NOVEMBER, 2011

FINANCING TERTIARY EDUCATION IN GHANA:

SOME CURRENT PERSPECTIVES

Chairman,  Members of the Achimota School Board

Headmistress

Fellow Akoras

Students of Achimota School

Invited Guests

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

 

I would like to thank the School Board and Headmistress for doing me the honour
of inviting me to speak on this auspicious occasion. Having passed through this
sc
hool, I fully appreciate the significance of being the special guest of honour at
Achimota School and I deem it a very major recognition. I thank you very much
for that
.

 

I have been asked to speak on the challenges of funding tertiary education in
Ghana. If I did not know much about that before
, the last year has taught me a
whole lot about the subject, even if my lessons did not come through the most
exciting channels. I will use this address to share with you what I have learned.

I came into the position of Vice Chancellor from being a simple development
economist
. As an economist, I appreciate fully many things that are associated with
the process of delivering education. These include the following:

·        Effective human resource development through education and skills
enhancement is essential for economic growth and broader socio
-economic
development;

·        This is because the more education and skills individuals possess, the greater
their productivity, all things being equal;

·        But the process of providing the education and skills requires several
spec
ialized inputs, including labour, physical assets, other capital equipment,
and also other items that could more easily be replaced;

·        As the cost of providing these inputs rises over time, it puts a significant
cons
traint on the ability of the educational system to supply the needed
education and skills;

·        This happens at a time when as a result of rapid population growth, the
demand for higher education has grown much more rapidly than ever
befo
re.

·        Again, all things being equal, the price of education and skills provision
would have risen to create an incentive for the supply side to rise to meet
the growing demand.

One of the first lessons I learned as Vice Chancellor was that 'all things are not
equal' and that they are unlikely to be equal at any time soon
, unless one was
willing to confront the obstacles head on. Let me talk about the things that have
affected the demand and supply sides in some more detail
.

2


~


 

Rapidly Growing Demand for Tertiary Education

Tertiary Education in the 21 st Century has become increasingly important, not only
to
individuals for the sake of enriching their lives, enhancing their status and aiding
a greater earning power. To the larger society, it ensures economic prosperity
generally, as well as the advancement of democracy and social justice (Johnstone,
World Bank report, 2006).

One of the principal challenges is that the demand for education beyond the
secondary
level is growing faster than the ability of governments worldwide to
provide adequate resources to meet this demand
. From 2005 to 2010, enrollment
of student
s in Ghana's public universities increased from 73,408 to 107,058.
Enrolment has risen sharply as applications and admissions have risen
substantially. This academic year
, the University of Ghana offered admission to
more than 14
,000 applicants, but this was only about a third of the nominally
eligible applicants. The number of applica
tions being received has doubled in the
last
five years alone.

Usually, demand is captured by an expression of the willingness to pay for a
service. Thus, when potential students apply to our University fo
r admission, we
enquire from them whether they would be interested in a fee-paying option, and an
average of 65% clearly indicate that they would like to come to Legon as fee-
paying students, if necessary. That means there is a fairly substantial demand for
the education that we provide.

3


 

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Developments on the supply side

On the supply side, we may note that the number of tertiary institutions has grown
considerab
ly in the last decade to meet the growing demand. There are currently 57
public tert
iary institutions in Ghana, including the 6 public universities, with 2
additional public universities coming. Considering the private universities, there
are now 4
2 universities with about a half of them affiliated with the University of
Ghana. Regularly we receive applications from new institutions that would like to
be affiliated with us. There is clearly no lack of interest in the university business.

One would have expected that with the significant increase in the number of
institutions, the pressure on the supply side and on the public universities would
have abated, but this has not happened. I believe this is for obvious reasons:
everybody wants to go to Legon, Tech or Cape Vars.

Manifestations of the Unmet Demandfor Higher Education

The large number of people who do not find their way into tertiary institutions will
either spend a number of years trying to improve their grades in order to gain
admission later or try to find a job. In the event that both fail, they will probably
end up on
the streets.

For those who gain admission to the universities, the supply problems will not
necessarily be resolved. A rapid and significant increase in student numbers always
leads to congestion, pressure on facilities, inadequate equipment
, high student-

4


 

<,


lecturer ratios, etc. It is not uncommon to find poorly equipped science laboratories
in all of the universities. Finding students standing in corridors and listening to
lectures be
ing delivered from far-away lecture rooms is fairly common in Ghana
toda
y. In this situation, there is a high likelihood that the public address system
being use
d for the lecture is faulty and they will not see any audio-visual
presentations made, if there are any. Students may take degrees in any of the
sciences d
oing as little practical work as possible. Again, students may study for
degrees in computer science with minimal access to computers in a small poorly
equipped laboratory
, as they do not own any laptops. After struggling through

-

 

News Source : OAA Secretariat Reporter
Last updated at : 30 May,2012
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