The rash of private universities springing up all over Ghana seems to have peaked.
One of them, Meridian University College, based at Kasoa in the Central Region is so crippled by cash flow problems that it has decided to dissolve itself, putting the future of about 300 students in jeopardy.
Management of MUC, accredited by the National Accreditation Board and affiliated to the state-owned University of Cape Coast blame “low enrolment and financial challenges” as reason for the dissolution.
The depth of the cash crunch and the way forward were clarified in an official notice: “Students are hereby informed that it has become necessary for the Chancellor to dissolve the college due to low patronage resulting in low enrolment; inability of the college to raise funds to support the Chancellor and the precarious current financial position of the Chancellor.
“In the interim management has decided to organise a re-sit for graduating students (Level 400 Upper) from August 25, 2014 to September 5, 2014; students due for re-sit are to register by August 22, 2014.
“A seven-week sandwich programme will be organised for levels 100 Lower, 300 Lower and 400 Lower students to complete the academic year, from August 25, 2014 to October 3, 2014, with the end-of-semester examination scheduled to start from October 6, 2014 to October 10, 2014.
“Students shall be required to pay the full semester fee of GH¢1,250 before the programme begins. There will be no concession for any student who fails to pay the fee.”
However both NAB and the UCC reportedly claim ignorance of the purported dissolution.
Faced with a situation described by educational experts as “unprecedented”, some of the students are considering legal action against the MUC management protect their academic interest, even though management is liaising nearby institutions to transfer continuing students there.
Though geographically in the Central Region, Kasoa shares a common border with the Ghanaian capital, Accra.
Meanwhile the MUC management has suspended indefinitely “admission of students for the 2014/2015 academic year, as continuing students remain baffled with calls to numbers of the Chancellor, management staff and lecturers going unanswered.
They wonder why “full semester fees of GH¢1,250” should be expected of them under the circumstances.
The possibility of their paying “paying higher fees” and being lower than their current levels in institutions where they may be transferred also worry them.
The NAB requires universities seeking accreditation to submit a “financial sustainability plan”, for scrutiny by financial experts, which MUC did.
But maybe the MUC sponsors were too ambitious in their projections of a rosy future for the institution.