Vice-Chancellors could become puppets of politicians under Public Universities Bill – Former UG VC

The ex Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Ernest Aryeetey has raised a strong concern to the passage of the Public Universities Bill into law by the legislature.

According to the former Vice-Chancellor, the bill if approved in its current form, will permit the Ministry of Education unlimited powers to interfere in activities of universities throughout the country.

The bill which is currently before parliament and pending approval have triggered reactions from a cross-section of the public, stakeholder, and university management alike.

Some of the relevant stakeholders have argued that the bill when passed will take away academic freedom and the autonomy of public universities under the likeness of harmonizing activities.

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Prof Aryeetey speaking on JoyNews‘ PM Express May 6 stated that some basis for the introduction of the new law such as streamlining of culture and reduction of financial impropriety in these higher learning institutions are incorrect.

When asked by host Evans Mensah on whether the development could make Vice-Chancellors puppets in the hands of politicians, the ex Vice-Chancellor responded, “exactly.”

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“They [Universities’ Councils] know what is good for the university that’s why they are there. They bring their knowledge… to the council and are able to show the university how best to chart particular courses… As soon as you lift that council and a political organ that responds largely to what the Minister for Education wants, you’ve taken away an essential character of the university. You have turned it into a political thing managed by the Minister,” he said.

He further explained that: “this law will only make only the Minister of Education more powerful. It will turn him into the senior Vice-Chancellor of the country.”

He also urged all Vice-Chancellors throughout the country to oppose the passage of the bill into law.

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“That’s what I will strongly recommend to them. This cannot be good for university education in Ghana. This is going to leave us with a university system where there is no competition” he added.

Prof Ernest Aryeetey also entreated Members of Parliament to vote against the bill.

He wants MPs to assess individual existing Acts establishing universities across the country.

The Former VC added that solutions must be provided other than a new law that overrides the entire independence on which universities were established.

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