Free SHS: Universities to contend with 45,000 extra students in 2020 – Yankah
Minister of State-in-Charge-of-Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, is projecting that the tertiary education sector would have to contend with an extra 45,000 students when the first beneficiaries of Free Secondary Education transition to university.
Speaking at a forum in Accra on funding of tertiary education, the minister noted that “from current projections, it is expected that approximately 145,000 students will qualify to enter the tertiary education portal. This number departs from past trends of approximately 100,000 freshmen and women.”
“The nation would have on its hands some extra 45,000 students to cope with,” he concluded.
The government has previously indicated that the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), will be the source of funding for priority projects in the various tertiary institutions.
But there is no indication that any significant projects have begun.
In November 2017, the Minister for Planning, Prof. George Gyan-Baffour said “as a nation, we must therefore as a matter of urgency, begin to prepare for the increased numbers, and the government is committed to expanding access to tertiary institutions to accommodate the expected increase in demand.”
On the reliance on the GETFund for the expansion, he explained that, “an amount of GHc255 million representing about 32 percent of the total GETFund allocation this year, has been allocated to the tertiary sector for the implementation of priority projects.”
The minister assured that no Ghanaian who graduates from the Senior High School and is qualified will be denied quality tertiary education.
As 2020 beckons, it’s clear the government will face immense criticism if it is unable to address the expected infrastructure challenges in time.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has already told the government there can be no excuses when the first batch of Free SHS graduates start seeking enrollment in tertiary institutions.
“In the next two years, the first batch of students under the Free SHS policy will come out and this will double the number of students seeking enrolment into our tertiary institutions. This is a reality we cannot pretend be unaware of.”
“The potential increase in enrollment at the tertiary level will require a corresponding increase in resources; both financial and human to be able to cope with the student numbers. The time to act is now,” he said at the 52nd Congregation of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.