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Government suspends controversial Public Universities Bill

University of Education, Winneba/ The Ghana Report

Government has suspended the controversial Public Universities Bill due to public outrage, Minority spokesperson on Education, Peter Nortsu Kotoe has said.

The suspended public university bill, according to the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh was to harmonize the governance, operations, and administration of all public Universities.

Before its introduction, the bill was criticized by stakeholders in the education sector.

While some oppose that the Bill seeks to take away academic freedom and the autonomy of public universities, the Education Ministry had insisted that it would harmonize the management of public universities.

According to the Member of Parliament for Akatsi North and a member of the education committee, Peter Nortsu Kotoe, government has decided to pull the brake on the passage of the bill to allow for further consultation.

“The Committee on Education looked at the Public Universities Bill and we have recommended that in view of the criticism and the number of petitions that we have received it will be better for the government to hold on with the passing of the bill because there is a need for greater consultation.”

He said with barely two weeks for the House to break for campaign activities in connection with the December 7 polls, it will also be impossible for the bill to be considered by the 7th Parliament.

“It will not feature in the bills we will be looking at for this meeting of Parliament.

“I have already said on many occasions that that Bill was not necessary and it was going to stifle the freedom of the universities and academics so government should redraw it.

“So I have been on that position long ago so if it does not go through, the better for the government,” he told Adom FM.

About the bill 

According to the framers of the Public Universities Bill, it seeks to harmonize the finances, administration, and governance structure of public universities.

The Bill, when passed, will give the government power to appoint the majority of members of the University Council.

The Council then has the power to appoint and fire public university officials.

The Bill also gives the President the power to dissolve the university council which will now have the power to appoint a chancellor.

It also gives effect to the University Council to control the finances of the university and determine the allocation of funds.

In addition, there is a proposal to rename four public universities after various personalities.

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