Former Deputy Minister of Education in charge of tertiary Samuel-Okudzeto-Ablakwa has signaled the government that if it abuses its Majority votes in Parliament to pass the Public Universities Bill against all the good counsel, the NDC government in 2021 shall repeal the Public Universities Act with demonstrable alacrity.
“May I humbly reiterate the position of the NDC as has already been unequivocally espoused by our Flagbearer, H.E. John Dramani Mahama: in the event that Government abuses its majority in Parliament by passing the Public Universities Bill against all good counsel, the next Government to be formed by the NDC on 7th January 2021, by the Grace of God, shall repeal the Public Universities Act with demonstrable alacrity.” He hinted in a post sighted by MyNewsGh.com.
The Public Universities Act seeks to harmonize the governance, administration and accountability structures of public universities.
But the bill has been opposed by several academics and various political divides in the county.
Addressing issues surrounding the Act, Okudzeto who the Member of Parliament for North Tongue said “All over the world, Governments rather than seeking to control universities and undermine academic freedom are focused on how to increase funding and enhance research grant options to universities, particularly, in uncharted pandemic times such as this when humankind is looking up to the academic and scientific community for urgent solutions. A case in point is Oxford University’s globally applauded COVID-19 vaccine development programme which has significantly entered its second phase”.
To him “Public Universities in Ghana need more investments akin to what we did between 2009 and 2016 with the World Bank Centres of Excellence facility, massive expansion in infrastructure, fibre-optic and ancillary ICT roll out, faculty development, retooling of labs and strategic policy direction that improved rankings”.
He asked government to “instead of needlessly flexing political power, the Akufo-Addo Administration should leverage the rich and enviable traditions of autonomy to reposition our public universities on a higher pedestal and at the forefront of the scientific transformation our nation greatly requires”.
Okudzeto Ablakwa said the Universities through COVID have proven that all they need in support from the government of Ghana so they can be able to provide the needed support.
“Our public universities have reminded us during this COVID-19 pandemic of what they are capable of achieving if given the opportunity to operate within the right ecosystem. Our spirits have been uplifted from the successful genome sequencing, the indigenous production of ventilators and the made-in-Ghana innovation of coronavirus rapid test kits. Ghanaians want to hear about Government’s plan to support these positive developments and the strategy for creating new large scale industries that would generate jobs for the youth even as we enhance our coronavirus preparedness. Obtaining majority control of university councils, removing GRASAG reps from council and appointing Chancellors is totally off the mark – that is not what Ghanaians are interested in now and not in the foreseeable future either.”
Source: MyNewsGh.com/Ayeh Offei-Akoto/2020