An Education Think Tank, Africa Education Watch, is demanding a complete withdrawal of the controversial Public University Bill from Parliament.

The group says the Bill in its current form still allows the government to control the governing councils of public universities.

The Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, told Citi News, President Akufo-Addo must redeem his promise not to curtail the academic freedom of public universities.

“The fundamental issue that was raised by stakeholders has not been addressed. The crux of the issue is the composition of the university council. The Bill is seeking to increase the government’s representation on the university council from below 30% to 60%”

“The president in an interview on the 4th of September indicated that he was going to take a look at the problem. That was during the campaign. Only for us to realise that nothing was done about it. There were no amendments whatsoever. The law in its current form cannot be pushed.”

The Bill has since its introduction faced resistance from some stakeholders in the higher education space.

But Parliament on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, approved the Public University Bill at the second reading stage.

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.

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.

Meanwhile, a high-powered delegation of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) is expected to meet the Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia today on the passage of the bill.

About the Public University Bill

According to the framers of the Public University Bill, it seeks to harmonise the finances, administration, and governance structure of public universities.

The Bill, when passed, will give the government power to appoint the majority of members of the University Council.

The Council then has the power to appoint and fire public university officials.

The Bill also gives the President the power to dissolve the University Council which will now have the power to appoint a chancellor.

It also gives effect to the University Council to control the finances of the university and determine the allocation of funds.

In addition, there is a proposal to rename four public universities after various personalities.

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