The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has rejected claims that it has made inputs to the controversial Public Universities Bill.
In an interview on Starr News, Dr Samuel Kusi, National Secretary of UTAG said the association has not yet made any inputs to the bill as is being suggested by some quarters.
He stated that:“UTAG has not officially submitted any input to the public universities bill. We have not been part of this specific bill. UTAG has gone through the bill, attempts have been made to create a certain impression that the bill is going harmonize all public universities. It becomes problematic when you have majority of the council members appointed by politicians''.
The Education Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh in defence of the bill said government is open to suggestions hence the decision to invite inputs from relevant stakeholders.
“The draft bill was circulated to all the universities and the unions with the caveat that they should let us have the suggestions to improve the bill before we can formally take it to cabinet before we take it to parliament and get it passed. So it is a stakeholder consultation that we are doing. The government has declared its intentions fairly, it hasn’t hidden anything, it is open to suggestions, it is open to discussions on the various clauses and it is opened its views.''
He also explained that the move is not to control universities nor stifle academic freedom as suggested, but rather to bring together under one policy all public universities to allow for a better regulated and properly defined scope of operations as has been done in other countries across the world.
Meanwhile, the Registrar of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), Dr C.S Kpeglo in reaction to the comments made by the Education Minister has kicked against the Bill. According to the Registrar of UHAS, they are concerned with the portion of the bill which suggests that the Minister of Education can issue policy directives to the university.
“Even though the current bill indicates ‘academic freedom’; it takes away from the Universities every facet of academic freedom. The definition of academic freedom provided in the Bill is too narrow as it focuses on the freedom of speech of lecturers. We are concerned that the bill suggests that the Minister of Education can issue policy directives to the University. This, in our view, will be in conflict with the role of the University Council.”.