The Coalition of University Students For Fee Reduction (CUSFRED) has called on the government to reduce school fees for the 2020/2021 academic year by 30 per cent.
According to the group, a 30 per cent reduction will mean that the “government will absorb GHS600.00 of the fees” of each of some 500,000 students.
In a petition addressed to the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education through the National Union of Ghanaian Students (NUGS) on 3 August 2020, the group also demanded the introduction of a school fee-paying quota system to allow students pay their fees in bits over the course of the academic year.
This, the group explained, would take the burden of having to pay all the school fees at a go “off our parent”.
Also, the group said students who pay part of their fees should be allowed to access services that they would have been guaranteed had they paid their fees in full.
They also petitioned the government to absorb certain charges such as examination, sanitation, medical examination, physical development levies, as part of the school fees, to reduce the cost.
CUSFRED recognised the efforts of President Akufo-Addo in reducing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact but lamented that university students feel sidelined.
The petition stated: “We appreciate the great work of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during these tough times for the good people of Ghana. We are, indeed, grateful. Prominent amongst these great works is the absorption of utility bills for over 50% Ghanaians, provision of personal protective equipment, funding to rescue small-scale enterprises, and most recently absorbing the 2020 WASSCE registration fees for all candidates.”
“However, we, as university students, feel we have been left out by the government. We propose the reduction of fees for the 2020/2021 academic year,” the petition added.
The students cited how a lot of people, majority of whom are parents, have lost their jobs or have been laid off as a result of the pandemic.
This, the petition explained, has led to financial challenges, hence the need for the government to reduce school fees for the 2020/2021 academic year.
“Majority of the people who have been affected by COVID-19 are parents, some with their wards in the university. Loss of job would affect their ability to pay their children’s fees for the ensuing academic year. Some parents are also involved in the informal sector, which has not been spared the wrath of COVID-19. Their finances are sure to take dip, which will affect their ability to take care of their wards in the university. Parents have other things to take care of when school resumes; apart from school fees, they also pay for accommodation, and feed their wards,” the petition noted.