Minority poised to fight gov’t ‘interference’ with public universities

Minority poised to fight gov’t ‘interference’ with public universities
Source: Ghana| Myjoyonline.com| Oswald Azumah| oswald.azumah@myjoyonline.com
Date: 08-04-2019 Time: 01:04:46:pm
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Matthew Opoku Prempeh is Education Minister

The Minority in Parliament says it will fight the attempt by the government to pass a law that will cause government arrest governance of the universities from internal elements.  

Speaking to Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe said the Minority in Parliament will oppose the bill, should it come to the House in its current form.

What does the bill say?

Among other amendments, the Public Universities Bill seeks to change the composition of the governing council of universities.

Majority members on the council would now be appointees of the President instead of the status quo where the university’s members are in majority.

The bill also seeks to change how candidates gain admission into public universities by introducing a centralised system.

Reaction

Nortsu’s advice to the government is that they should change the provisions of the bill “or abandon it altogether.”


The legislator believes the government “is just trying to control the universities which is not good.” 

He said what players in the education sector want is for the universities to be autonomous, adding that every university is unique so the government should not seek to “put them in one basket.”

What have lecturers been saying?

Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana and Head of Centre for European Studies, Prof Ransford Gyampo in a series of social media posts attacked the draft bill, describing it as an affront to academic freedom.

Ransford Gyampo
Prof. Gyampo is a vociferous critic on national issues

In one post, the lecturer said: “…we would resist [the] attempt to touch our academic freedom with our blood.”

A law professor at the University of Ghana, Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua who spoke on Joy FM’s also expressed reservations on the draft bill.

He said should the government have the majority on University Councils they would indirectly influence appointments, financial commitments and the universities’ relation with other external bodies as Council is ceased with the power do these.

In a reply to critics of the draft bill, however, PRO of the Education Ministry, Vincent Ekow Assafuah, said the draft has been sent to the universities for their input so they can express their reservations via that platform.

He added that the Ministry is not even obliged to send the draft to them before sending it to parliament.

But in response, the Prof said “the draft bill sounds like asking me to make input into your proposal to rape my wife. Who does that? It can’t be up for input.”


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