Government has justified the suspension of the controversial Public Universities Bill.
The Bill which seeks to harmonise the governance, operations and administration of Public Universities was suspended in Parliament at the consideration stage.
Minister of State in Charge of Tertiary Education Professor Kwesi Yankah said the decision to suspend the bill will allow the government to include the opinions of the various interest groups in the bill.
According to him, because they are a listening government they have decided to suspend the bill to determine the direction of it.
“…there have been grounds work of a variety of opinions on the bill and a number of memoranda that were submitted by various academic and non-academic interest groups. This will compel any government to want to pause and take a second look at the bill before they decide whether it should be brought back. You know the government has a majority and they could have easily decided to go ahead base on the numbers but as a listening government, we also realised that those adverse comments from interest groups needed to be considered.”
Minority spokesperson on Education, Peter Nortsu Kotoe said Parliament has suspended consideration of the controversial Public Universities Bill due to public outrage.
The Bill which seeks to harmonise the governance, operations and administration of Public Universities in the country has generated controversy and criticism from stakeholders in the education sector since its introduction.
While some contend that the Bill seeks to take away academic freedom and the autonomy of public universities, the Education Ministry has argued that it will harmonise the management of public universities.
The Akatsi North MP, said the Education Committee recommended to the government to pull the brake on the passage of the bill to allow further consultation.
“The Committee on Education looked at the Public Universities Bill and we have recommended that in view of the criticism and the number of petitions that we have received it will be better for government to hold on with the passing of the bill because there is a need for greater consultation.”
He said with barely two weeks for the House to break for campaign activities in connection with the December 7 polls, it will also be impossible for the bill to be considered by the 7th Parliament.
“It will not feature in the bills we will be looking at for this meeting of Parliament.
“I have already said on many occasions that that Bill was not necessary and it was going to stifle the freedom of the universities and academics so government should redraw it.
“So I have been on that position long ago so if it does not go through, the better for the government,” he added.
About the bill
According to framers of the Public Universities 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.