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General News of Thursday, 17 December 2020


Public Universities Bill: We’ve lost trust in government – UTAG

Education Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh Education Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh

The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) says it has lost trust in government over the handling of the Public Universities Bill.

According to UTAG, government has not been transparent with its engagement with all stakeholders in the attempt to the get bill passed.

Speaking to Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Thursday, National President of UTAG Professor Charles Marfo said lecturers no longer trust the assurances of the Education ministry over the controversial bill.

“We got a copy of the revised PUB at the meeting with the vice president yesterday. It was given to us by the Minister of Education. We were shocked that somebody thinks he can undermine UTAG and go to parliament and pass a law. Funny enough, the parliamentary people were asking that we come out with our position as soon as possible, What I can see so far and the calls I’m getting is that there seems to be a loss of trust,” he said.

He added: “If someone tells you I’ll bring you a document to peruse and you see the person in parliament trying to pass the bill, then there’ll be no trust. The parliament select committee was expecting that we brought our recommendation by Friday but we told them we’re not magicians. We need as much time as we can get. Are we in an emergency to pass the Public Universities Bill? What’s going on? Did anybody die? What’s going on at the universities? If there’s no emergency at the universities, why are we in a rush? Universities are like rainbow colours. Everyone has a colour so if you want to put us into one color, are you not destroying the beauty of the rainbow?”.

Government has pulled the brakes on the controversial Public Universities Bill, 2020.

Parliament has consequently suspended consideration of the bill which went through second reading on Tuesday. The move follows a meeting with the stakeholders by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Chairman of the education committee Wednesday morning.

UTAG, GRASAG, Vice-Chancellors and other members of the academia have kicked against the bill arguing it threatens academic freedom and autonomy of public universities.

Addressing the media in Parliament, Chairman for the committee on education, William Quaittoo disclosed copies of the revised bill has been made available to all agitating stakeholders for their inputs.

According to him, the bill remains suspended until all stakeholders agree with the content.

Dr. Lloyd Amoah, Director of the Centre for Asian Studies at the University of Ghana, on Wednesday called on government to withdraw the Bill saying it is inimical to the growth of public universities in the country.