Mr Rockson-Nelson Etse Dafeamekpor, Member of Parliament for South Dayi has called on Parliament to act “to ensure that doors to public tertiary institutions were not closed to qualified Ghanaians on grounds of high cost of admission forms.”
He said the House must compel the tertiary institutions to make full disclosure before forms are sold to prospective students rather than selling forms at amounts that were non-refundable before the students discovered the qualification clauses.
In a statement on the floor of the parliament on Wednesday, Mr Dafeamekpor accused public universities and tertiary institutions in Ghana of appearing to deliberately refuse to disclose their qualification details ahead of the sale of admission forms as they assumed the forms would answer every question the student required.
In very harsh language, the MP took vice chancellors, rectors and principals to task for having turned “into cash-cows, prospective Ghanaian applicants” seeking entry into Public Universities, Colleges of Education, Health training institutions and the technical institutes amongst others, and “have practically being milking them dry even before they are offered any hope of higher learning.”
Mr Dafeamekpor said:” Mr Speaker, presently, the situation has assumed alarming proportions. Why?
“This is because, one is required to fill out and/or complete admission forms as part of the application processes to get admitted to these public universities and colleges. The decision to admit or not to admit rests with the particular university.
“However, these admission forms are now sold at costly prices,” the South Dayi Legislator added, and informed the House the forms are sold, on the average for about GHC 250 each, with an additional amount of GHC 20 being charged as Service fees, if one purchases the forms through the banks.
Mr Dafeamekpor pointed out that it was unfair for the institutions to announce requirements of up to aggregate 24/30 for almost all their courses and peg the cut off points for admissions for some of their programmes at aggregates six and nine.
The vexed MP was at a loss why the institutions would sell a large number of forms to students for more than they could admit and queried what accounted for the high costs of the admission forms, including the on-line ones.
“Mr Speaker, the reasons cannot be far-fetched as these universities and colleges have developed the penchant to milk the already vulnerable graduates mostly from Second Cycle institutions seeking opportunities for higher learning in our publicly funded universities.”
Mr Dafeamekpor estimated that the public funded universities and tertiary institutions raked in about GHC 450 million from the sale of admission form to students who were not admitted, scolded the universities and other public funded tertiary institutions for getting into their accounts what called “free monies unlawfully obtained from innocent, vulnerable and desperate members” of the Ghanaian society against the constitution of Ghana.
Citing the 2015/16 admission cycle of the University of Cape Coast, Mr Dafeamekpor said the institution admitted in excess of about 17,500 students for its sandwich programmes out of over 50,000 applicants, exclusive of applications unto its regular programmes.
“This gives a scenario of about 35% only of admissions offered to all applicants in the instance. This means that 65% of the prospective applicants have been lost to those who applied and yet were not admitted.”
The South Dayi legislator called on the House to direct that the practice of selling admission forms without granting admission to qualified applicants to the public funded universities and tertiary institutions breaches ”the constitutional rights of any citizen to pursue his educational rights as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution and therefore most irregular.”
The directive, Mr Dafeamekpor said should call on the institutions to desist from the practice, beginning this new admission cycle, to assure students, parents and guardians that no one will take advantage of the opportunity that exists “to milk innocent but prospective applicants.”
Members’ contributions supported the call by Mr Dafeamekpor, but Mr Ebenezer Teye Larbi, MP for Lower Manya Krobo, formerly in academia, justified the sale of the forms without admission and the attendant high on the grounds of the institutions spending time and other resources in the sale, sorting of forms, and hiring of interviewers, among other reasons before admissions are through.