WE OPPOSE GHANA’S PUBLIC UNIVERSITY BILL
We, the undersigned, are scholars based in Ghana and all across the world who are horrified at the intention of the Ghanaian government to pass the Public University Bill. This draconian bill, which seeks to hand over control of tertiary education to the Executive Branch of the Government of Ghana, is a reversal of several decades of progress made by Ghana as an independent, democratic nation.
We hereby join the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Ghana Studies Association, and other members of the Ghanaian academia and public in calling for the complete rejection of a bill that is unconstitutional, unjustified, and harmful to the mission of public universities.
It is unclear the specific problem the bill seeks to solve that cannot be addressed with existing laws or with broad-based consultation with the universities themselves. Rather than speaking to the challenges faced by public universities in Ghana (including lack of government funding and the lack of capacity to absorb increasing demand), the bill proposes changes that are inimical to the development of tertiary education in Ghana, and that will negatively affect students, scholars, researchers, and international collaboration.
Among other harmful changes, the bill seeks to
- bring University Councils under the control of the Executive by handing majority representation to the Executive arm of government, in contravention of the constitution of the Republic of Ghana;
- diminish the autonomy and capacity of public universities to respond to changing research priorities, funding opportunities, and student and faculty needs in dynamic national and global contexts;
- give the Sector Minister undue influence over the day-to-day management of the universities.
We are disappointed that a government that should allow intellectual work to thrive independently would instead seek to crush academic freedom, which is explicitly protected under the Constitution. Ghana’s Fourth Republic has been one of the most vibrant in Africa. This bill undermines that legacy.
We conclude by asking the Executive to withdraw the bill; failing this, Parliament should exercise its independence of the Executive by rejecting it outright.
The petition has garnered 2,700+ signatures from university faculty and administrators, students, and concerned citizens in Ghana and around the world.]
MORE INFORMATION ON THE PUB
See the GSA statement for further explanation of why the bill is being rejected as unconstitutional, unnecessary and harmful to the future of higher education.
**Download the PUB Factsheet for more information on why there is such strenuous opposition to the Bill. The factsheet also provides links to news items related to the Bill and answers frequently asked questions.