Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, has asked upset members grumbling over calls for them to offset loans acquired by the Methodist University College to pipe down.
The church “did not set up the university to make money,” he said to emphasise the need for the church to keep supporting the university financially.
The Presiding Bishop told Joy News it is the Church’s responsibility to provide infrastructure for the school, which is why it permitted the university to go for the loan to expand its infrastructure.
The Methodist University College is struggling to pay back a 10 million cedis loan it took from Prudential Bank in 2011 to undertake infrastructural projects on its campuses in Dansoman, Tema and Wenchi.
Vice Principal of the Methodist University College, Prof. Joseph Edusa-Eyison told Joy News the university badly needs the bailout to stay in business.
He said a decision by the National Accreditation Board to force the school to cut down on its student population has made it impossible for it to re-pay its debt.
However, the decision by the leadership of the Methodist Church to levy all branches to clear the debt has received mixed reactions from members of the church.
A student of the school and member of the church rejected the call outright. She did not understand why she should pay the same fees as students who are not church members, insisting that the university should pay the loan because “we don’t get anything out of it.” “I don’t get any percentage [cut in fees]. I will not even give a pesewa to help them do anything in the school,” she vowed. Nonetheless, Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante said it remains the responsibility of the Church to keep the university in operation and that is why they took this decision. He stated that the Church instituted the university to serve the community, and discounted calls for the school to be separated from the Church. “That is neither here nor there”, he stressed. “The Church is prepared to use our money, sacrifices to serve the community” like it has been done at the basic and secondary school levels, he said. However, he underscored “the Church does not interfere in the academic affairs of its schools. He encouraged members of the church to “bite the bullet” by contributing to pay off the principal to avoid the increasing interest rate on the loan. Rev. Prof. Asante reiterated that the school is going through financial challenges because NAB asked them to cut down on its intake, stressing that the school is not suffering because of “bad management.” The school used the “money for infrastructure,” he vouched, acknowledging that the university has been “self-sustaining”.