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Several University bodies in the country have warned the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) that they will resist an attempt by the government to introduce a bill that will virtually put the running of Ghana’s Universities in the hands of the political class.
The proposed bill-the Public Universities Bill, 2019, among others is seeking to reduce the representation of academic stakeholders in the governing councils of universities and replace them with government appointee. Also, the bill wants to give the President of the Republic of Ghana the power to appoint Chancellors for Universities, instead of the usual practice of chancellors being elected by autonomous university bodies.
Academic experts, student bodies and individual universities have described the bill being sponsored by the NPP as a totalitarian move to cripple university education in Ghana.
“The National Union Of Ghana Students” has learnt with shock the retrogressive decision by government to place all public universities directly under its authority through a recently drafted bill awaiting parliamentary procedures to become law. We consider this a threat to academic freedom because the government has no business in having outright control over public universities,” the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) said in a statement issued today.
NUGs believes that the recent confusion in universities such as the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Education Winneba (UEW) were all politically induced.
“First of all, it is not clear what purpose the law intends to serve. Since the individual Acts establishing these schools coupled with their statutes are laws enough for smooth administration of these institutions. The draft bill in its current state is at best an apology as it is riddled with inconsistencies, and provisions that do not conform to the principle of constitutionalism,” NUG noted.
A similar statement issued by the University of Health and Allied Sciences in the Volta Region (UHAS) have utterly condemned the government’s move to use the controversial bill to “Harmonise” all public universities
“The basic premise of a harmonised Public Universities Act is wrong as it seeks to make all public universities look the same…Universities cannot be treated with a ‘one size fits all’ approach,” a statement signed by UHAS Registrar Dr. C.S Kpeglo warned.
NUGS has condemned “in no uncertain terms” the plan by the Akufo-Addo government to push such a controversial bill through parliament. “The largest students’ movement in Ghana wishes to finally call on politicians to halt politicizing the future of the thousands of Ghanaian students whose future is hinged on their policies and decisions. Ghanaian students deserve better than their insatiable quest to score cheap political points,” NUGs warned.
Source: WhatsupNews Ghana