Public University Bill poorly motivated, unacceptable – Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences
The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) has rubbished the government’s proposed Public Universities Bill.
The professional body of academics insisted in a statement that the bill when passed would accord government and its agencies excess power to meddle in the affairs of public universities, describing it as ‘poorly motivated’ and ‘unacceptable’.
“The position of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences is that the Public University Bill, 2020 is poorly motivated and unjustified. It is unwarranted and likely to lead to Ghana’s public universities becoming less globally competitive.”
The government’s case is that the bill seeks to harmonise the finances, administration and governance structure of public universities. There are currently more than 10 public universities in the country.
When passed, the bill is also expected to give the government the appointing power to select the majority of members on the universities’ councils.
The bill will then give the councils the authority to appoint and sack officials of public universities.
But the GAAS fears political hands could undermine academic freedom.
“The Academy further takes the position that the Bill is largely intended to provide greater control over the management of public universities from government agencies. This is completely at variance with the spirit and letter of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, and runs counter to the rich history of this nation,” it added.
It wanted the government to withdraw the bill as it could serve as an avenue for chaos in the country’s educational sector.
“The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences is strongly of the view that this bill is dangerous and uncalled for. It is a recipe for total chaos in our tertiary education system,” he said.
The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences joins several other educational groups like the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and academics to criticise portions of the bill.
They raised concerns over some clauses in the bill which gave the president the power to appoint five members out of the nine members that will form university councils, as well as the Chairman of the council.
Also, the draft bill gives the president the power to dissolve the university council, which will now have the power to appoint a chancellor.
The bill also gives effect to the University Council to control the finances of the university and determine the allocation of funds.