Prez must “indirectly” control universities – Dominic Fobi backs new bill

A former education minister Professor Dominic Fobi has backed proposals in the controversial draft universities bill saying he does not see problems with the bill.

“I don’t think that should be a problem. The government appointing 5 council members does not necessarily mean government trying to control the universities if you ask me. There must be an indirect control of the President in Public universities as the government funds these universities,” he said Tuesday.

The comment is in sharp contrast to the views of a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana Professor Ivan Addae Mensah who views the bill as dangerous.

“I think this bill is very dangerous and totally unnecessary. The constitution of Ghana seeks to protect tertiary institutions from government interference. If the bill says the President can appoint the Chancellor it means he can disappoint the Chancellor. In all, the President can appoint about 5 council members and that is dangerous.

“The bill has stated that if 5 council members out of the 9 meet to discuss some issues, the decision arrived at can take effect. This means that the 5 appointed by the president can sit and decide to overthrow the VC and that can happen. As a former VC and educationist, I just can’t understand what this whole bill is about. The Universities should be allowed to have their own laws governing them. The State shouldn’t give any legal guidelines. This bill is going to bring about micro-management of the Universities and that may render VC redundant,” Prof. Mensah said.

He added the bill will allow government through its councils to have power over who gets admission into public universities in the country.

The first to publicly oppose the bill is a lecturer at the university of Ghana Professor Ransford Gyampo.

Some of the proposals in the Bill grant; a) the President power to dissolve the university Council; b) Allow the university Council to appoint a Chancellor and c) Allow unions to appoint only one representative on a rotational system to serve on the Council at each cycle.

News Reporter

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