The NDC flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, called on the government to withdraw the Public University Bill currently before the parliament.
In a statement released on Sunday, June 14, the former president said that cooperation is what our universities need. A partnership that promotes academic freedom, enhances its efficiency and also invests in research and development. “The KNUST-INCAS COVID-19 rapid test kit innovation is one of those outcomes that begs for support, “he said.
Our academics and students need help to concentrate on their core objectives of knowledge creation and sharing, not a Public Universities Bill that seeks to regulate and weaken our intellectuals and other researchers’ freedom in state-owned universities,” he argued.
The bill as it stands risk not only undermining academic innovation and ingenuity; it will also throw decades of academic excellence into the hands of the position of Ghana as the unpreferred target of international academic collaboration. He lamented.
As has already been pointed out by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, the University Teachers, some former Vice-Chancellors, individual academics in universities, among many other stakeholders, there is absolutely no need for the Public Universities Bill. It has to be withdrawn from Parliament immediately. “He justified.
“In its current form, it is unclear what problems or challenges in higher education the Bill seeks to resolve. What is certain however is that, the Bill seeks to colonise public universities in the country, undermine academic freedom, stifle scholarly initiative, and subject research and researchers to needless and unproductive government control.”
He therefore called on Government to listen to the concerns of key stakeholders and withdraw the Bill.
“I want to, however, assure the people of Ghana and the academic community that should government proceed and pass the Bill into an Act of Parliament, I will not hesitate to initiate steps for its immediate repeal, as a matter of priority, if God willing I assume office as President in January 2021.” He said.
“Let me also renew the commitments I made during my meeting with the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) in Kumasi that as President, I will work with our universities to develop a comprehensive policy framework that promotes high quality research and rewards scholarly excellence.”
“Let’s respect the academic autonomy of the universities.” He can concluded.