Former President John Dramani Mahama says what the country’s universities need is a partnership and not a bill that seeks to control and undermine the independence of intellectuals and other researchers in state-owned universities.
“The Bill as it stands does not only risk undermining academic innovation and ingenuity; it will also jettison decades of scholarly excellence and adversely affect Ghana’s position as the preferred destination for international scholarly collaboration,” the former president said in an article published on his official website.
Since the introduction of the Public Universities Bill which is expected to harmonize the governance, administration, and accountability structures of public universities, there has been strong opposition from various teacher unions, with the groups receiving backing from politicians and other civil society organisations.
On JoyNews’ news analysis program, Newsfile, a lecturer at the University of Ghana, Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo had revealed that the school may lose its relationship with some of its international partners if the Public Universities Bill is passed into law.
Dean of the School of Education, Development, and Outreach at the University of Cape Coast adding his voice to the protest said the implementation of the University Act Bill is to clone a hidden agenda by government.
There have also been heated arguments on the floor of Parliament with the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) who make up the minority, asking for the bill to be withdrawn or rectified.
Backing these calls and assertions, Mr. Mahama who is also the flagbearer of the NDC said “there is absolutely no need for the Public Universities Bill.”
According to him, it is unclear what problems or challenges in higher education the Bill seeks to resolve, hence must be withdrawn from parliament immediately.
In his statement, the former president also urged government to listen to concerns raised by key stakeholder and withdraw it.
He further stated that should government pass the bill, he will initiate process to repeal it when elected into office on December 7, 2020.
“Government must listen to the concerns of key stakeholders and withdraw the Bill. I want to, however, assure the people of Ghana and the academic community that should government proceed and pass the Bill into an Act of Parliament, I will not hesitate to initiate steps for its immediate repeal, as a matter of priority, if God willing I assume office as President in January 2021.”
Find full statement from former President John Mahama below: