Professor Kwame Boasiako Omane-Antwi, a Chartered Accountant, has urged private Universities to develop plans to enhance fiscal sustainability, including the pursuit of alternative revenue sources to survive in the market space.
Prof Omane-Antwi said for private Universities to develop an effective financial sustainability plan, it was necessary for them to understand their business, and have an objective and a vehicle to achieve the vision and mission of the organization.
The Professor said this in Accra at a workshop on financial sustainability plans organized by the Council of Independent Universities (CIU).
The workshop was to prepare private Universities to become financially sustainable and work towards meeting the Charter requirements.
As part of the new transitional arrangements for the granting of a Charter, all existing University Colleges have been given up until the end of 2024 to demonstrate their capability and readiness for a Charter, by meeting the prescribed conditions.
Prof Omane-Antwi, who was also the resource person for the workshop, advised the Universities, not to over-rely on school fees but be innovative and attract grants across the world for research projects to remain relevant in the competitive educational space.
Prof Omane-Antwi charged the private Universities to explore other businesses like agriculture for revenue generation, saying “ if you are running a programme like agriculture and you don’t have a farm to make the course more practical, then what are you teaching the students.”
He encouraged the private Universities to run demand-driven programmes that would solve some of the challenges in the country and avoid the “soft landing programmes” like basic accounting, and human resources which were already run by the public Universities.
Prof Omane-Antwi urged the management of the Universities to conduct a Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat analysis and strategically draw up academic programmes that would meet the needs of society.
He said the participants would be taken through topics like how to test the risk environment they find themselves in, the need to have a University council for strategic direction, accounting framework and how to be resilient to withstand any internal and external shocks”, he said.
Professor Nicholas N.N. Nsowah-Nuamah, Chairman, CIU, said private Universities needed to consider quality assurance and financial sustainability to be independent of affiliation, saying “if your quality assurance and your corporate governance is perfect, but not financially sustainable, it will be difficult for the University to run.”
That, he explained, was critical because, without good financial strength to run the operations of the University, the institution could collapse.
Ms Anne Marie Kyerewaa Acquah, the Executive Secretary, of the Council of Independent Universities, said the vision of the Council was to promote issues relating to private higher education to foster world-class standards.
The Council, she stated, aimed to play a key role in shaping public policies that affect the institutions and called on all private Universities to join the Council to advance its mandate.