Parliament of Ghana has approved the Public Universities Bill after its second reading stage.
The Public Universities Bill which was withdrawn and re-laid in the House in November 2020, seeks to harmonise the structures for the administration of public universities.
During the debate on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, 15 December 2020, the Minority expressed conditional support for the processes to get the Bill passed which was based on consultation from some groups that wrote to them during their recess.
“I must say that stakeholder consultation is very important in the work we do as Parliament. That is why article 106 of the 1992 constitution requires that we invite a public memorandum and these are stakeholders who are affected by the Bill and therefore, an assurance for the Education Minister that they will be thoroughly engaged and the report of same be submitted to Parliament either than that, we are unable to support this Bill,” Haruna Iddrisu said.
Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister for Education, said the Bill in its current form incorporates every concern from stakeholders.
“There is been a thorough consultation between us [Government] and the stakeholders which even necessitated the relaying of same due to the voluminous nature of their inputs compelled us to withdraw and relay same. So, it is not about consultation because Parliament in its own way did advertise it for inputs.”
The Education Committee of Parliament, while laying the Bill before the parliamentarians noted that the Bill is important for the “governance architecture of public universities.”
The Bill, the committee stated further, seeks to present an “equitable opportunity for all qualified applicants” in the country.
“The Bill provides important reforms for improvement in the governance architecture of public universities. The Bill further improves the admission process and creates equal and equitable opportunity for all qualified applicants to access higher education, irrespective of their economic circumstances.”
“In particular, the standardisation of key governance structures across all public universities will inject more efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of public universities.”
The Public Universities Bill when passed, will give the government of Ghana, the power to appoint the majority of members of the University Council.
The University Council will then have the power to appoint and dismiss the public university officials.
The Public Universities Bill will give the President the power to dissolve the University Council which will now have the power to appoint a chancellor.
The University Council will be able to control the finances of the university and determine the allocation of funds.
In addition to this, there will be a proposal to rename four public universities after various personalities.