Public Universities Bill is inimical to academic freedom – UTAG

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The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has expressed shock at the re-laying of the Public Universities Bill (PUB) in Parliament today.

According to its National President, Professor Charles Ofosu Marfo, based on the assurances they received from the Parliamentary Select Committee following the submission of their amendments to Bill the Association was waiting for the document to be sent back for their review.

“UTAG had met the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education earlier, and we had extensive deliberations, our concerns, and we were assured that the A-G would look at the document…and when the review had been done, the Select Committee had considered our document, then the document would be sent back for us to peruse”.

As such, they were “flabbergasted, surprised and disappointed” to learn that the Bill had been re-laid before Parliament today, December 15.

Speaking to Joy News’ Gifty Andoh on ‘The Pulse’, Prof. Marfo emphasized that UTAG is unaware of the current contents of the document presented to Parliament today.

“So as we speak, UTAG was just waiting for such a (reviewed) document until we heard that there’s a schedule in Parliament and that the Bill is being considered on its way to being passed. And we were flabbergasted, surprised and disappointed. Because as we speak we don’t know what is in the Bill that they are seeking to pass”.

The PUB was suspended on October 22 following resistance from various stakeholders in the education sector, who are of the view that the Bill seeks to deprive tertiary institutions of autonomy and academic freedom.

“We have made it clear that the Bill in its current state is inimical to academic freedom, and [is] in fact unconstitutional. Someone needs to review such a Bill, have us peruse it, get ourselves satisfied before we can move on to do anything,” he contended.

The UTAG President further reiterated the Association’s resolve to fight for academic freedom and autonomy, which they argue the PUB in its current state seeks to deprive tertiary institutions of.

He noted that effective recommendations were made during consultations with the Committee on Education and hence UTAG expects that their submissions are taken into consideration.

“As it is, we do not know what they are debating about, we also do not know which Bill Parliament is deliberating on.

“Until we are provided with the document, we will spend every life in us to keep academic freedom. We will fight it at every point in time to,”.

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