Ghana’s parliament has suspended processes leading to the passage of the Public University Bill which was at the consideration stage.
The bill drafted by the Ministry of Education seeks to harmonise the governance, administration and accountability structures of public universities.
But even before it was brought to parliament in 2020, the bill generated a lot of controversy when it came to the public’s attention earlier.
First and second suspension
A host of education stakeholders including the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), the Academy of Arts and Sciences, African Education Watch and African Studies Association of Africa have opposed the bill, with claims that it is inimical to academic freedom which is guaranteed by Ghana’s constitution.
It has however been suspended again to allow for further consultation with stakeholders.
Here are seven things worthy of note in the Public University Bill:
- The president gets to nominate 5 other members of the council. At least, two of them should be women.
- The president is given the authority to again nominate the chairperson of the University Council.
- The president has the powers to dissolve the University Council and constitute an interim one in case of certain stated grounds.
- Establish a Centralized Applications Processing Service for the processing of applications for admissions for all public universities, similar to the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) in the senior high school.
- The bill prevents public universities from acquiring property, sell, lease… or enter into any transaction, without first consulting and obtaining the approval of the “minister” in charge of education.
- The minister [in charge of education] may give directives on matters of government policy through the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission to a public university and the public university shall comply.
- Public universities can only roll out distance and online programs after receiving a specific and separate accreditation from the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission.
By: Efo Korku Mawutor