The Graduate Students’ Association of Ghana (GRASAG) has called on the government to as a matter of urgency withdraw the public university Bill which has been drafted and pending parliamentary approval and consideration.
Addressing members of the 26th GRASAG Senate in his maiden address, newly elected president of the association, Mr. Samuel Sego indicated that certain provisions of the bill only create the avenue for political mischief.
“The drafters of this bill may have good intentions for now but leaving certain provisions of the bill remaining the way it is will only create an avenue for a politician in future with ill-intensions to manipulate and unduly control policy directions,” he stated.
The draft Public Universities Bill, according to government is to provide the procedure for the establishment of Public Universities, principles of management of public universities, the legal status of public universities, the procedure for financing Public universities and administration and supervision of the activities of Public universities and related matters.”
But according to GRASAG, the current status of various public universities are all right and that the association is very much okay with their representation on the various university councils.
“We do not want a bill that will take the voice of graduate students away. Our concern is not only about representation, but we also want the current status of the various universities to remain the way they are,” Mr. Samuel Sego emphasized.
He also noted that the said Bill only creates a culture of intimidation, fear, and politicization which will just stifle academic progress “and with best practice across the world that is not how it is done.”
On what government should to about the current structure which some universities have gone astray, Mr. Sego suggested that the government should strengthen the National Council for Tertiary Education to enable the government to gain appreciable level of influence.
“For instance, a case in point really is clause 42 which states that “the minister may from time to time give directives from the National Council for Tertiary Education to the universities and the universities shall comply”. Using the NCTE to force universities in the new bill to comply with a minister’s policy will only erode the autonomy of our university,” he expressed.
The president affirmed that Ghanaian graduates will not give any politician the room to have a Hundred percent control over public universities as has been the case of Senior High Schools in the country.
GRASAG argues that allowing such a bill to stand will mean that a change in the political leadership of Ghana will mean a change in the academic policy directions of the public universities.
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