Dean of the School of Education, Development, and Outreach at the University of Cape Coast believes government’s attempt to implement the University Act Bill is to clone a hidden agenda.
“I think the government is using this bill to clone its main intent,” he told host of Newsfile, Samson Lardy Anyenini on JoyNews.
According to Professor George K.T Oduro, the decision was going to be at the disadvantage of universities in the country, while government stands to gain a lot of power.
“If we go into Article 47 of the bill it reads, the minister may give directives on matters of policy through the Ghana Education Service to the public universities and the public universities must comply” and this is where stakeholders concern must come up because the government is using this to clone their real motives,” he explained.
Adding a caution, Professor Oduro said “if you kill academic freedom in universities you will destroy quality policy in the country as a result.”
“In 2010 I was the chairman of the Takoradi Technical University, a Deputy Minister calls me and asked me to let the then rector to proceed on leave.
“I asked why, because the Act clearly states that the chairman of the council and the council is the highest decision-making body and so I drew his attention to that. I was almost removed but for the authorities going strictly according to the provisions of the Act.”
Citing another instance where the new bill was not going to help the university system in the country, Professor Oduro said; “Again in 2011, another Deputy Minister of Education via a radio announcement decided that a program that had been approved by the academic board of the University of Cape Coast which was approved by the Ghana Accreditation Board should be removed and taken to GIMPA.
“There too we had to make reference to the Act’s provision and because of that the order couldn’t be implemented,” he said.
Defending these points, he argued that the passage of the bill will make government the mouthpiece of the various tertiary institutions.
“Let us strengthen the existence of the Acts and encourage government to see to it that operational councils observe what it says. This will then deter government’s intention because failure to do that will see government interfering in all affairs of tertiary institutions.”
Professor George K.T Oduro like most educationists are calling for a nationwide objection to the new Public Universities Bill tabled before Parliament.
They hold the stance that, the new bill will see government being in control of tertiary institutions in the country, which in turn will hinder academic freedom.