The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has offered its support to the Public University Bill 2020 with inputs on how to fine-tune the whole idea.
The UTAG has submitted a memorandum to Parliament for the consideration of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education on how the passage of the Bill will, to a larger extent, harmonise the governance, administration and accountability structures of public universities in the country.
The position of UTAG was to help ensure that the Bill would achieve its stated aim, and it took into consideration the best practices, as captured in the existing Acts and Status, and inputs from the 10 branches of the association before arriving at the memorandum that was sent to Parliament.
In the 25-page document, UTAG made a number of proposed revisions that would help in making the Bill better for the public universities.
UTAG carefully went through the whole Bill, unlike certain individuals criticizing the Bill before making inputs in a memorandum.
The umbrella association of university teachers, as part of it contributions towards the Bill, among other things, observed that out of the total membership of 13 Council members, only five are from the University family, and UTAG feels that the situation tilts everything in favour of the government of the day.
UTAG, in memorandum, also spoke about the need to have representatives of Convocation, the need to separate Graduate Students Association (GRASAG) from the Student Representative Council (SRC) on the University Council or how best their concern would be addressed on Council.
The memorandum spoke about the importance of Alumni on the Council and how the centralised application processing was likely to infringe on the institutional autonomy of the university, as it removes the control of determining who is best qualified for a programme at the institution to a different body which may not understand that criterion.
UTAG again feels that the powers of the President of the Republic of Ghana to intervene in matters involving the public universities, even where there was a Chancellor, was not the best.
In addition to that, UTAG is of the view that borrowings by the public university must conform to the recommended conditions stated in the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) and any other provisions that may apply.
The original provision in the proposed Bill was ‘’The Council may borrow money on behalf of the Public University and may for this purpose use the property of the Public University as security.”
But UTAG proposed that it should be revised to ‘’The Council may borrow money on behalf of the Public University and may for this purpose use the property of the Public University as security in conformity with the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) and any other provisions that may apply.”
As a matter of fact, UTAG’s memorandum touched on almost all sectors and aspects of Public University, an indication that the association actually took a closer scrutiny of the proposed Public University Bill 2020.