The Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, believes halting 2021 tuition payments by students in public tertiary institutions will not have a significant strain on the state.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Ayariga said the state intervention would only need to cover essentials like electricity bills, water, cleaning and IT infrastructure.
He put forth a motion in Parliament in this regard stressing the need to cushion families amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“You can easily calculate that by taking out things that within the context of COVID you don’t need. Even if you suspend the development work in the university for one year, would it affect the function of the university,” Mr. Ayariga noted on the Citi Breakfast Show.
Tuition fees are normally at the heart of fees paid by tertiary students but Mr. Ayariga argued that the state was already paying the lecturers offering the tuition.
“When you have a lecturer who is already being paid by the sate, his salary and other basic expenditures are being paid by the state, why would that same lecturer be charging you?”
Ultimately he said, “the cost that the government will bear will be minimal and that cost can now be absolved through the GETFund.”
For residential facility user fees, Mr. Ayariga was adamant the hostels on public land ought to be free for residents on campuses.
“We can say that as part of the support package, all those who are in will enjoy free residential accommodation from the universities and then the government will take on the cost of utilities.”
For the private side, he said negotiations could also be started with private hostel owners to provide discounts for the continuing students, among others.
Though Mr. Ayariga remains uncertain of the extent of monetary commitment from the state, he said the president only needed to give the instructions for deliberations on the finer details by key stakeholders.
“Even if we don’t take out everything and are able to reduce the bill for the students by 50 percent or 60 percent, families will be grateful,” the MP said.
Mr. Ayariga has tabled a motion before Parliament asking government to waive tertiary fees for the 2021 academic year.
Parliament is yet to finalise debates on the motion.