Mr Speaker, while associating myself with the Statement made by Hon Dafeamekpor, that the fee for admission forms are high -- it is true and especially because, as Hon Members of Parliament, once admissions are opened, our constituents come to us to assist them buy these forms.
I am not surprised that an Hon Member had come close to this, and indeed, indicated that it costs some money to do this.
Mr Speaker, as we complain about the cost, I believe we must lay our complaints at the right post. In the sense that it is
true, in terms of the forms that the universities sell, they outnumber the numbers that they take. Mr Speaker, but because of sheer numbers these days, working on these forms alone takes a lot of money.
I heard the Hon Member who made the Statement say that they use internet but this is not for free -- it comes at a cost -- they pay electr ic i ty bi l l s. Mr Speaker, a visit to any of the admission offices like Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), that I know of, would tell you that with the sheer numbers, they would sometimes need to hire temporary labour to assist in sorting and sometimes, it takes days.
Mr Speaker, if we could imagine one university selling about 100,000 forms and they would have to take time to select and constitute panels to interview -- All of these cost some money and there is no other way, but charge some fees on the forms that they sell.
Mr Speaker, if indeed, as a House, we think that this is becoming burdensome, then I believe that we must complain to the Government. This is because, these days, subvention to the universities is almost nothing. Apart from salaries, nothing else comes. Recently, if we would remind ourselves, when the Hon Minister for Finance came here -- the universities have also been affected by capping. So, whatever forms that they sell, a certain percentage must go to government.
So, I believe that yes, it is burdensome and it is affecting us, but we must lay the blame at the door steps of the Government. If Government thinks the universities must stop selling forms, the Government must be prepared to increase subventions to the universities -- not only salaries but the day-to-day recurrent expenditure, which includes adminis-
tration, processing of forms, composing of committees and so on, would see to the selection and eventual admission of students.
Mr Speaker, the other issue is that, there is something lacking in our second cycle institutions. Every senior high school is supposed to have a counselling and guidance centre and it is their responsibility to make sure that entry requirements and cut-off points -- although these things are on the forms, because when you buy the forms, they would give you a cut-off point.
Mr Speaker, as a teacher at the university, sometimes, my constituents come to me with issues of admission and without consulting me, they would go and buy the forms. But if you tell them that if you have a grade D in English Language, you cannot -- they would tell you that “Protocol” -- which does not exist.
Mr Speaker, it does not exist in the premium universities. This is because, these days, admissions are computerised. Once they are entered and your grades are below grade D, you are automatically taken off. So, it is not the fault of the university but the system. So, we must make sure --
Mr Speaker, if I advertise that I want people in my institution and someone applies because they think that they qualify, then they should not blame me if they do not meet my criteria of selection. They have to check themselves. So, let us advise our constituents to work hard and let us also encourage the various secondary schools to have counselling and guidance centres, if they do not have, but if they have, then they should improve on them.
Mr Speaker, when that is done, we would not have prospective students
buying and wasting forms. Mr Speaker, when it comes to administration or the management of the forms in the universities, we must ask the Government. If the Government, indeed, believes that everybody must get education at the university level, then let us increase funding to the universities. That is how we could solve this problem.
Mr Speaker, on this note, I thank you for the opportunity.
Rev. John N. Fordjour (NPP -- Assin South): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement ably made by my Hon Friend and neighbour, Hon Abena Durowaa Mensah, Member for Assin North, and to also affirm that the youth are our future generation and generational leaders.
Mr Speaker, and to also state that indeed, discipline is a foundation upon which we would build a strong, hopeful and responsible future for our society.
Mr Speaker, it is of significance why on two occasions, King Solomon stated that a wise son makes the father glad. The first one was in Proverbs Chapter 10 verse 1 and he also stated in Proverbs Chapter 15 verse 20. Also, to submit that training up a child in the way he should go, could also be found in Proverbs Chapter 22 verse 16.
Mr Speaker, as concerned parents, much as we are encouraging our youth to be of improved behaviour, we must also consider that it is equally appropriate to laud the vast majority of Ghanaian youth who have lived above reproach and to acknowledge certain youth who have distinguished themselves in certain areas and have become role models in their fields.
The House would recall that the venerable Rt Hon Speaker submitted to this House that in 1948, a man called Mr Kwesi Plange at the age of 21, was the first headmaster of Ghana National College.
Mr Speaker, I was inspired by the story that you cited and I conducted further studies on this man and it marvelled me to discover that, following his dint of discipline, hardwork and determination, upon becoming the first headmaster of Ghana National College at the age of 21, and having successfully served his term, this man continued to serve the nation as the Hon Member of Parliament in the First Republic and also became an Hon Minister of State at the age of 24.
It is inspiring that we have Ghanaian youth who continue to be examples and role models for the younger generations to follow.
Mr Speaker, this is to also submit that even in our current dispensation, we have the likes of Mr Abraham Atta, who at the age of 14 years, had distinguished himself on the international scene in the film industry and won for himself an international award. It is also worth acknowledging that, in this very House, in the Seventh Parliament, by deter- mination, discipline and hard work, we have the Hon Francisca Oteng Mensah making her way to this House at the age of 23.
Mr Speaker, in my opinion, these are encouraging narratives and praises which must be sung of our Ghanaian youth and to encourage them to continue to be of good behaviour and to assure them that, the Parliament of Ghana has able and strong young men and women who would be of good behaviour, distinguish themselves in their chosen fields and at the appropriate time, by the grace of God, when they are unveiled, their praises also would be sung.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank the Hon Member who made the
Statement and I thank you for the opportunity.