The national leadership of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) says it is disappointed in the continued moves to pass the Public University Bill.
It says the developments with the Bill are being done on the blindside of the association, a week before Parliament’s recess.
It says it will be compelled to go to the Supreme Court to challenge the decision should the Bill be passed.
“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 to Citi News.
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 attack 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.
What did the Education Committee of Parliament say?
The Education Committee in presenting its recommendations on the bill to the House noted that the Bill is important for the “governance architecture of public universities.”
It further said the Bill seeks to present an “equitable opportunity for all qualified applicants” in the country.
“The Bill provides important reforms for improvement in the governance architecture of public universities. The Bill further improves the admission process and create equal and equitable opportunity for all qualified applicants to access higher education, irrespective of their economic circumstances.”
“In particular, the standardisation of key governance structures across all public universities will inject more efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of public universities.”