Parliament has today, Tuesday, December 15, 2020, approved the Public Universities Bill at the second reading stage.
The Bill which was withdrawn and re-laid in the House in November seeks to harmonise the structures for the administration of public universities.
The Minority, during the debate, expressed conditional support for the other processes to get the Bill passed depending on consultation from groups that wrote to them during the period of recess by the House.
“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,” Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said.
The Minister for Education, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, says the Bill in its current form before Parliament incorporates almost 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.”
What did the Education Committee of Parliament say?
The Education Committee in presenting its recommendations on the bill to the House noted that the Bill is important for the “governance architecture of public universities.”
It further said the Bill 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 create 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.”
About the Public Universities Bill
According to the framers of the Public Universities Bill, it seeks to harmonize the finances, administration and governance structure of public universities.
The Bill, when passed, will give the government power to appoint the majority of members of the University Council.
The Council then has the power to appoint and fire public university officials.
The Bill also gives the President the power to dissolve the University Council which will now have the power to appoint a chancellor.
It also gives effect to the University Council to control the finances of the university and determine the allocation of funds.
In addition, there is a proposal to rename four public universities after various personalities.