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General News of Thursday, 17 September 2020

Source: universnewsroom.com

Public University Bill will disadvantage students without political connections – UTAG-UG

The University of Ghana chapter of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) is insisting that the government withdraws the Public University Bill, 2020 (PUB).

UTAG-UG says that the Bill, when passed into law will create more problems in the tertiary education sector than it seeks to resolve.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, a lecturer at the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana, Prof. Akosua Adomako said that the Bill would lead to ‘pervasive nepotism’ and expand protocol admissions, adding that students without means or political connection would be greatly disadvantaged.

“Again by seeking to centralize University admissions under one platform, the Bill takes the process for admission of new students away from individual universities. This would not only be cumbersome but would strip from universities the ability to seek the best students for their unique programmes. Centralized admission, under the control of the government, would conceivably lead to pervasive nepotism and the expansion of ‘protocol admissions’, deepening the disadvantage of students without means or political connection.”

She added that the PUB, which she says is unconstitutional, will rather slow down the functioning of public universities as their activites must be approved by the Education Minister.

“The Bill would hobble public universities by bringing them under the direct day-to-day management of the Minister of Education. Clause 47 of the Bill states -The Minister may give directives on matters of policy through the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission to a public university and the public university shall comply. – In addition, the Bill states that the Minister of Education can direct or must approve the following: the establishment of any new academic units; and all financial matters, including the leasing or sale of university properties.”

Also speaking at the press conference, Dr. Kojo Asante, the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), said that the arguments being made for the passage of the Bill are unfounded.

“There is an implicit suggestion that more accountability will be achieved with politically appointed council members. This suggestion is flawed because political appointment in itself does not guarantee accountability. Control by the Executive will be counterproductive to academic freedom projected in Article 21 of the 1992 constitution.”

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