Private Legal Practitioner, Samson Lardy Ayenini has questioned government on the rationale behind its seeming haste to pass the ‘Public University Bill’ as though it is the cure for Covid-19. MyNewsGh.com reports.
In a Facebook post sighted by MyNewsGh.com, the host of JoyFM’s Newsfile program quizzed “Pray – But why the seeming haste with this one as though it is for cure for nCovid19?”
The post has since received several social media shares and comments with a number of users demanding further explanation from the Ministry of Education and Government.
A user, Kwaku Antwi-Bosiako commented that COVID-19 crisis presents government the opportunity to bury bad news. “Samson Anyenini: The best time to bury bad news is during a major crisis, such as COVID-19!”
Also, the former Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University of Ghana (UG), Prof Ernest Aryeetey in a media interview monitored by MyNewsGh.com has opposed the passage of the bill into law.
According to Prof Aryeetey, the bill if passed in its current form, will grant the Ministry of Education overreaching powers to interfere in activities of universities across the country.
Speaking on JoyNews‘ PM Express May 6, Prof Aryeetey posited that some basis for the establishment of the new law such as the streamlining of culture and reduction of financial impropriety in these higher learning institutions are flawed.
When quizzed by host Evans Mensah on whether the development could make Vice-Chancellors puppets in the hands of politicians, the former VC responded, “precisely.”
“They [Universities’ Councils] know what is good for the university that’s why they are there. They bring their knowledge to the council and are able to show the university how best to chart particular courses. As soon as you lift that council and a political organ that responds largely to what the Minister for Education wants, you’ve taken away an essential character of the university. You have turned it into a political thing managed by the Minister,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has defended his government’s position on the bill by stating that it won’t undermine academic freedom.
He said the bill demonstrated the cardinal importance of the principle of academic freedom of the universities and described the allegations as flimsy, mischievous and disingenuous.
President Akufo-Addo, in an address at the 11th Congregation ceremony of the University of Professional Studies (UPSA), dismissed claims that the bill would stifle academic freedom of the universities.
Having gone through the consultations stage and currently laid before Parliament, he said the bill would, amongst other things, bring all the public universities under a common law and, thereby, make the administration of the public universities less cumbersome and more efficient.
“Government is not sparing any efforts to make education in Ghana of the best quality, and fit for the needs of the 21st century.” He noted.
Source: MyNewsGh.com/ Evans Osei-Bonsu/ 2020