The government’s rationale for attempting to put all public universities under the same Act “is not clear.”
In a letter, which explicitly rejects a draft bill to that effect, University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) says the government has not given any justifiable reason to put all public universities under one law.
“A much more appropriate approach will be to have a preamble to the document indicating the purpose, rationale or justification for warranting a merger of all public universities under one single ACT,” the letter said.
According to the letter from the school’s registrar on “behalf of the Vice-Chancellor…the basic premise of a harmonised Public Universities Act is wrong as it seeks to make all public universities 'look the same'.”
UHAS argues that the differences in the universities contribute to competition and societal progress. “As a consequence, universities cannot be treated with a ‘one size fits all’ approach.”
Referencing a clause in the draft which is specific to UHAS, the university says it will resist any attempt by the government to arbitrarily change the name of the school in honour of Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, a former statesman who hails from the Volta region.
UHAS says the said the proposal was rejected “vehemently” by the university’s council when it was brought up “sometime last year.”
The school laments that they “do not see any merit in the change in name, but rather financial cost as we have to change all our letterheads, signage etc.”
What else has been rejected?
Part of the draft which seeks to reduce the membership of the governing councils of the universities to nine has been most unpopular.
With five members being appointees of the President, the government would hold a controlling vote should they bulldoze it through.
Law lecturer at the University of Ghana, Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Monday that the government would have total control over who gets contracts the university wants to award since that is the prerogative of the Council.
UHAS says in its letter that the decision will lead to unrest on all campuses since the draft seeks to exclude representatives of the various Unions on Council.
According to UHAS, the academic freedom described in the draft is cosmetic since all tenets of same have been taken away.
Click her to read the full letter from UHAS
What has the government been saying?
According to the PRO of the Education Ministry, Ekow Vincent Assafuah, the government is not obliged to take the contributions of the universities before sending the bill to Parliament so asking the universities’ input is even an act of good faith.
Ekow Vincent Assafuah is PRO of Education Ministry.
He however, added that this is just a draft and the universities’ inputs are welcome.