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General News of Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Source: Starr FM

Draft universities bill 'dangerous, unnecessary' – Addae Mensah

A former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana Professor Ivan Addae Mensah has joined the mounting opposition to the draft universities bill describing it as “dangerous and totally unnecessary”.

He said the bill and its proposals are backward and will take universities back to the 60s.

“I think this bill is very dangerous and totally unnecessary. The constitution of Ghana seeks to protect tertiary institutions from government interference. If the bill says the President can appoint the Chancellor it means he can disappoint the Chancellor. In all, the President can appoint about 5 council members and that is dangerous.

“The bill has stated that if 5 council members out of the 9 meet to discuss some issues, the decision arrived at can take effect. This means that the 5 appointed by the president can sit and decide to overthrow the VC and that can happen. As a former VC and educationist, I just can’t understand what this whole bill is about. The Universities should be allowed to have their own laws governing them. The State shouldn’t give any legal guidelines. This bill is going to bring about micro-management of the Universities and that may render VC redundant,” Prof. Mensah told Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Tuesday.

He added the bill will allow government through its councils to have power over who gets admission into public universities in the country.

The first to publicly oppose the bill is a lecturer at the university of Ghana Professor Ransford Gyampo.

Some of the proposals in the Bill grant; a) the President power to dissolve the university Council; b) Allow the university Council to appoint a Chancellor and c) Allow unions to appoint only one representative on a rotational system to serve on the Council at each cycle.

The minority has described the proposals as worrisome. According to them, the bill, which is yet to be laid in Parliament has severe consequences as far as academic freedom and the autonomy of universities are concerned.

Speaking to Starr News Minority Spokesperson on Education Peter Nortsu asked for more voice like that of Prof. Gyampo against the draft bill

“We expect the University dons to also make their voice clear, once they do that wisdom will bear on us to do the right thing….If they [majority] want the good of this country, universities to excel then I expect the majority to also oppose it when it is finally laid,” Mr. Nortsu told Starr News’ Parliamentary correspondent, Ibrahim Alhasan.

He added that lecturers must strongly oppose the bill adding that there is nothing good in the Public Universities Bill.

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