Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, has demanded the immediate halt to the charging of unapproved fees by public universities without parliamentary approval.
He has threatened legal action over the matter.
The MP, who is the Chairman of Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation Committee, has also written to the Minister of State In Charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah on the matter.
According to Mr Ayariga, the country’s laws require that various public universities, including the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Ghana must submit their proposed fees to Parliament for approval but that hasn’t happened since 1992.
In a two-page letter, he said the imposition of fees on students without prior approval by Parliament is contrary to the law. He noted that with the exception of Wa Polytechnic, all other tertiary institutions are in breach of the law.
Speaking in an interview with Joy News, the MP demanded that the sector minister should take steps to rectify this or face a court action.
“They must come to Parliament for approval that gives parliamentarians the opportunity to scrutinize the amount being charged and also get to appreciate the justification for charging that amount because the public is already financing the institution by paying the salaries of lectures and by providing infrastructure,” he noted.
Mr Ayariga also asserted that per Article 25 (1) of the Constitution, the State must work towards a system that makes higher education free.
He demanded that the Minister presents a clear framework similar to what has been with the case of free SHS.
“The constitution also insists that we should arrange to provide progressively free tertiary education and there has not been any clear indication by all governments of a programme to provide for a progressively free tertiary education system,” the MP stated.
Mr. Ayariga also claimed that the practice of fee-paying and non-fee paying in the admission system is unconstitutional as it is discriminatory and reprehensible. According to him, this must end.
He laments that some of these demands eventually become a burden on parliamentarians with such high fees.
He is calling for a bipartisan discussion of these issues with critical stakeholders to resolve this, or they will head to the courts to enforce the demands as economic and social rights.