Professor Ernest Aryeetey, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana has urged the government to allow Ghanaians to decide whether they prefer public or private universities.
He said that the government has the prerogative to decide on what to do with public universities, however, he urged the state to go through the right process to arrive at a favourable decision for all.
Addressing the press on the government’s efforts to revive the economy on Thursday (24 March) the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta revealed that the government intends to wean-off public tertiary institutions from its payroll.
The finance minister said the move is part of the government’s medium-term measures to revive the crisis-hit economy.
Privatising public universities
However, speaking to Beatrice Adu on Asaase Radio‘s The Big Bulletin on Tuesday (12 April), Prof Aryeetey said that the move by the government is not the solution to the country’s economic challenges.
“This is not the kind of thing that you decide in one day in order to solve a particular problem with your finances. Weaning universities off the public purse, effectively means you are privatising your universities. These are public universities and they are public for a purpose.
“It’s for the people of Ghana to decide whether they want public or private universities. If they want private universities, that’s a decision that we make as a people not simply a response to challenges with our budget,” he said.
He added: “This is not a matter of the government has no right or not, it’s a matter of if you want to wean them off, you should know the implications, you should know what it means and use the proper channels for having that discussion. My point now is that, simply because there’s a budgetary challenge; weaning the university off [government payroll] cannot be the solution.”