ACA2K Executive Policy Brief: Ghana
The government’s policy on free textbooks should be extended to private primary and private secondary schools, and to public and private tertiary institutions. This must, however, be undertaken in a progressive manner due to the
huge financial outlay involved. Also, the libraries in private academic and research institutions should be supported financially by the Ministry of Education.
It is recommended that taxes imposed on materials used by local book publishers should be reduced to bring down the cost of books in Ghana. In addition, the government must heed the recent calls from the heads of private universities to reduce corporate tax on private universities. This would bring down the cost of higher education at private universities.
The term of protection of copyright – at least 70 years in Ghana – is too long. The net effect of such long-term protection is that it restricts the public domain. It should be reduced to a minimum period of 50 years, as required by international law.
Policies to implement the Disability Act should include pro-access mechanisms for disabled students and researchers. Such pro-access policies should be included in the subsidiary legislation to implement the Copyright Act and the Disability Act.
Finally, and most importantly, the thin scope of permitted use under Ghana’s copyright law deserves re-thinking to include more exceptions and relax existing stringent exceptions in order to promote access to knowledge in Ghana. In this regard, experiences relating to copyright exceptions in other jurisdictions should serve as a guide.