The contentious Public University Bill was suspended by the government.
This follows a meeting of stakeholders held on Wednesday, December 16, by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
Following a meeting attended by members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), the Ghanaian Graduate Students Association (GRASAG), the Vice-Chancellors of Ghana (VCG), and others, William Agyapong Quaittoo, Chairman of the Education Committee, addressed journalists.
He said that copies of the amended bill were made available to all agitating stakeholders for the House to resume consideration of their comments after all questions were resolved.
He added that most of the issues posed by the stakeholders are resolved in the new bill, noting that the government would not allow university heads to review the whole bill to their satisfaction.
Stiff resistance from a cross-section of the Ghanaian population has been faced in an effort to get the bill passed.
For eg, Professor Raymond Atuguba, an Associate Professor and Dean of the School of Law at the University of Ghana, described the bill as ‘gladly and patently unconstitutional’ and called on colleagues from the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) to find ways to stop it before parliament passes it.
Due to public uproar and opposition from stakeholders in the education sector, Parliament postponed the contentious bill, but re-laid it for second reading on Tuesday, December 15, it will most likely be passed shortly.
But in an email to his colleagues that went viral, Prof. Atuguba called for an expedited intervention by the UTAG leadership to avoid the passage because there is nothing positive about it in his opinion.
“I am reliably told that in the next 24 to 72 hours, or perhaps earlier, the Public Universities Bill (PUB) may be signed into law! So excuse me if I go to the argument directly. If UTAG (local and national) will work TODAY during the night to have a Plan by tomorrow morning, putting up a straightforward Route to avoid the PUB passage, I will be in the lead to ensure their impeachment and more,” he said.”
The law professor took the opportunity to condemn the measure, pointing out what he feels are lapses, while discussing how the bill would undermine and potentially politicise public universities as introduced. He stresses his criticisms as follows:
It is glaringly and patently illegal (so that no corporation signs it into law by Parliament or MP);
It aims to politicize public universities (we can’t have at least one non-politicized university in the country);
It seeks to create (effectively crippling) Executive and Ministerial micro-management of public universities; and
In some sectors, it is very poorly drafted (not the fault of the drafters; they had a horrible policy to work with).