He mentioned that fierce competition among global issues regarding food security, healthcare, environmental challenges and poverty are having a ripple effect on local economies and constraining governments the world over to pull-back on public spending. Prof. Yankah noted that funding higher education had undergone several policy changes as a result of the need to reduce the cost burden on Government.
He, therefore, challenged the universities to strive towards a radical shift in paradigm that will perpetually confront issues of funding public universities.
Prof. Gabriel Ayum Teye, Chairman of Vice Chancellors Ghana and Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, in his opening remarks, said the choice of the theme was in direct response to the emerging trends that have impacted on the sustained advancement and survival of public universities globally. He stated that since 2011, universities had depended heavily on their Internally Generated Funds (IGFs) for recurrent and capital expenditure due to government’s inability to provide the full complement of their budgets. Prof. Teye noted that 76% of revenue received by the universities were accumulated from student fees and charges.
Speaking on government’s free Senior High School initiative, Prof. Teye said, although the universities have been overwhelmed with issues of inadequate infrastructure and budgetary constraints, they were re-positioning themselves to respond effectively to the success of the programme. He, however, lamented over government’s call for the retention of 34% of IGFs from Public institutions and called on the government to revisit the Akosombo Accord which discussed the cost-sharing modules among government, the universities IGFs, private individuals, organisations and the students.
Participants on the first day, had the opportunity to deliberate on a presentation on the topic “Political Power, Academic Freedom and the Future of University Governance” presented by Prof. Stephen Adei, former Rector of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), and another presentation by Prof. D. D. Kuupole, former Vice-Chancellor, UCC on “Funding University education: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and Former Vice-Chancellor, University of llorin, Nigeria presented on “Exploration of alternative sources of funding public universities in Africa” while Prof. George K. T. Oduro, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Coast (UCC) presented “Dwindling Budgetary Allocations: Implication for Quality Education”.
There was also a roundtable discussion on, “Internal sustenance strategies for funding universities”. It was co-facilitated by Prof. Stephen Adei (former Rector, GIMPA) Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu (Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana), Prof. A. Feehi Okoe Amartey (Vice Chancellor, University of Professional Studies, Accra), Prof. K. Obiri-Danso (Vice Chancellor, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology) and Prof. Gabriel Ayum Teye (Vice-Chancellor, University for Development Studies).
The Conference brought together over thirty leaders in higher education with the active participation of all ten public universities under the VCG.