Prime News Ghana

UTAG in crunch meeting with Bawumia over Public Uni Bill

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
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The leadership of the University Teachers Association of Ghana, UTAG are in a crunch meeting with Vice President Dr Bawumia over re-laid Public Universities Bill.

The meeting is expected to address the concerns of UTAG concerning the bill.

A section of the bill seeks to effectively make the President the head of all public universities, by nominating the chancellor, chairperson of the University Council and appoint the majority of Council members.

Also, it gives authority to the Minister of Education to give directives on matters of policy, with which public universities shall comply.

UTAG yesterday said they will proceed to the Supreme Court over the re-introduction of the Public Universities Bill.

According to them, they are disappointed in the continued moves to pass the Public University Bill.

They said the developments with the Bill are being done on the blindside of the association, a week before Parliament’s recess.

“If they even go higher, we will proceed to the Supreme Court. We have the option of also striking,” the national President of UTAG, Professor Charles Ofosu Marfo, said.

Parliament on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, approved the Public University Bill at the second reading stage.

Prof. Marfo said the association was disappointed the Bill got to this stage of approval without “our knowledge.”

“We were just waiting to be consulted. At least, if our recommendations have been considered, one would have expected that the state institution involved will let us see the Bill.”

Major stakeholders in education expressed reservations with the draft Public University Bill being introduced by the government and have described it as an attacked on academic freedom.

Prof. Marfo reiterated these concerns saying the Bill “is unconstitutional and is inimical to academic freedom.”

He further called for Parliament to be more patient in its assessment of the deal.

“Let broader consultations take place before anybody by the speed of light decides to commit this Bill to being passed,” he said.

The Minority in Parliament, during the debate, expressed conditional support for the other processes to get the Bill passed.

It was also concerned with consultation from groups that wrote to it during the period of recess by the House.