Professor Mohammed Salifu, Director-General, Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC), says the Commission is putting together proposals to be presented to Parliament for the review of fees for tertiary educational institutions for the next academic year.
The Director-General was at PAC to respond to issues raised in the 2019 Auditor-General’s Report concerning the commission.
The GTEC is the successor organisation to both the National Accreditation Board and the National Council for Tertiary Education.
The Report indicated that the National Accreditation Board in 2015/2016, contrary to Regulations 2(b), 5(4), 22(2) and 23(4) of LI 1984 (2010) of the National Accreditation Board Regulations, the Board reviewed its service charges at the 92nd Board meeting without parliamentary approval.
The Auditors recommended that Management should take steps to get parliamentary approval in order to avoid any legal challenges.
It said the auditors observed that the Board did not take any action on those who flouted the law by advertising, operating and running unaccredited institutions and programmes.
It also recommended that the Board should ensure compliance with the Act and that persons found culpable should be dealt with in accordance with the law.
Dr James Klutse Avedzi, the Chairman of PAC, asked Professor Salifu why GTEC was charging fees without Parliamentary approval.
The chairman wanted to know also what action had been taken so far against unaccredited institutions.
Prof Salifu said GTEC inherited the assets and liabilities of both the National Accreditation Board, as well as that of the National Council for Tertiary Education.
He explained that following the recommendation of the Auditors, the then National Accreditation Board took steps to address the issue.
“Because we provide oversight for the sector, we are aware that this problem was even beyond the National Accreditation Board, there was a lot of sensitizations about the implications of the Fees and Charges Act for the entire Tertiary sector,” he said.
“Previously, what happened was that even at the university level once the Board/Council approves the fees it was going to be affected, and our attention was drawn to the fact that there was the Fees and Charges Act that all of us have to oblige.”
He said subsequently, that what GTEC had been doing was collating all the inputs, before presenting the joint Finance Committee and Legal Committee of Parliament for them to consider it; saying “the fees that are being charged now are fees that have been approved by the Joint Committee”.
Dr Avedzi: “Are you reviewing your fees again?”
Prof Salifu: “We have collated this for this current year for the entire sector and we were supposed to go through the same process but until we have had it reviewed, we are applying the fees that were last approved.”
Dr Avedzi asked Prof Salifu whether he was aware of that Parliament had passed the Fees and Charges Amendment Act, 2022, to which Prof Salifu replied that the entire Tertiary sector, including the regulatory bodies, was part of the Fees and Charges Amendment Act, 2022.