We Would Continue To Challenge Arguments Presented To Supreme Court Against Public Universities’ Bill - UTAG
The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has opposed strongly to the passage of the controversial Public Universities’ Bill into law.
The bill seeks to complement governance, administration and accountability structures of public universities.
However, UTAG says after examining the bill, it “is at a loss regarding the rationale for the enactment of the legislation.”
The Association in a statement indicated that
“after a careful clause by clause analysis of the Bill, the passage of the Bill into law in its current form will create more problems for the running of the universities than they seek to resolve.”
According to UTAG, there are so many concerns associated with the bill however, paramount amongst them is that the bill seeks to limit academic freedom as established in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
These freedoms, UTAG says “thrives on the pillars of institutional autonomy, self-governance, individual rights and freedoms of academics and students, and tenure for academics.”
The Association also holds that the arrangement of universities’ council under the bill “and the overwhelming powers given the President within the Council structure and mandate is out of line with the constitutional provisions of the country.”
They further expressed concerns about the dictatorship the bill may grant to the President and the Education Minister.
“We are also concerned about the powers granted the President to control the appointment of the Chancellor of a public university through the backdoor, in clear violation of article 68 of the Constitution of Ghana. Equally concerning are the powers being allocated to the Minister of Education to issue directives to run the university and the provision to ‘subtly’ control the admission process in the universities,” the association stated.
UTAG maintains that they would continue to challenge the “serious constitutional matters” which they presented to the Supreme Court if their concerns go unaddressed.
Meanwhile, they have suggested 24 key amendments to the bill which is currently before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education.
One of such proposed amendments is formation of a quorum of the governing council.
UTAG says with a proposed 13-member council — eight of them from the government –should seven members form a quorum as proposed the government team can hold a meeting by themselves at any time.
“Rephrase Section 9(2) to read as follows: The quorum at a meeting of the Council shall be 60% of the membership including representation from the university, presidential appointees, and independents,” UTAG said.
Other relevant stakeholders have opposed the passage of the bill. One of which is the Former Vice Chancellor of University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey.
He called on Members of Parliament to reject the Public University Bill and fix problems of governance at the various universities.
According to him, the problems being faced by the universities are solvable hence government should figure ways to fix them rather than implementing a bill which will not solve the existing problems.