The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, has decried the low motivation of lecturers in the country’s public universities, a situation, he argues, has led to high turnover of lecturers.
Prof. Oduro said: “Remuneration is very low. We are one of the least paid in this country. Even though, as per standard and knowledge, we remain one of the best. Lecturers are in very hot demand but because of the conditions of service, they are targeted and they leave. So gradually, day in and day out, we begin to lose human capital and that is one of the biggest problems we are facing.
It has become a kind of quasi-departure. So you have quite a substantial number of colleagues going on sabbatical, taking leave of absence. Day in and day out we receive letters from lecturers who resign after taking some years of leave of absence.”
He added that the situation is proving costly to the universities, especially the quality of teaching, and requires urgent attention from government before it gets out of hand.
The National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) estimate that the about 2,676 academic staff in all the eight public universities is inadequate to teach and supervise the academic work of more than 128,326 students.
“It becomes a big blow to the university because these are people who have been trained and have engaged in research for years. So if that person leaves with all these experience, it means the university has lost a critical human capita.
Even when it comes to salaries, when do we receive our salaries? Salaries are extremely low. Students complain of the quality of teaching. But, truly, in a sense when the man or woman is hungry, what do you expect that person to do. The mind and the body keep moving around and in a true sense it affects quality,” he said.
There are arguments that universities must be removed from government subvention as the internally generated funds can cater to all their needs. Prof. Oduro, however, has debunked such calls, saying the internally generated funds are not enough to satisfy the needs of universities.
“The main Internally Generated Funds (IGF) are known as academic facility user fees. These are token fees that students pay so we can maintain our academic facilities.
If you put all of that together and you indicate that we should use that funds to pay just salaries alone, it can take care of us for just six to seven months. What it means is that we would have nothing left for operational expenses and capital expenditure. So that tells you that we are not generating that much as it is put out there,” he said.
The NPP government has, however, said it will address the issue of remuneration. “Teachers at all levels, from the primary to the Universities, have been subjected to such denigration and contempt that morale has sunk to the lowest ebb in the nation’s history. It is no wonder…schools are still finding difficulty keeping their dedicated teachers. And it is no wonder that questions are being raised about the quality of education in Ghana today.
We shall restore to our Teachers the honour and respect they once held as the source of enlightenment at all levels of society and ensure that teaching becomes, once again, a profession of choice for our ambitious youth,” the NPP said it its 2016 manifesto.
–The Business and Financial Times