Invest your energy in fighting dangerous Public Universities Bill – UG-UTAG to National UTAG

0
30

The University of Ghana Branch of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has asked the mother body of UTAG to invest its energies in supporting UG-UTAG to fight the dangerous Public Universities Bill.

enfrans ads

According to the Group, it is currently educating the Education Minister and other stakeholders to give them an understanding of the fact that the PUB is dangerous and needs to be withdrawn from Parliament.

 

 

 

 

The University of Ghana branch of UTAG said currently, it has joined like minds like the Ghana Academy of Science and Arts that belives that the Public Universities Bill is dangerous and will be detrimental to UTAG members across the country.

“We reiterate that the position of UG-UTAG to NEC has been consistent and unequivocal that UTAG-National should not support the Public University Bill, and that the bill must be withdrawn from Parliament on the grounds that it is unnecessary, and that it poses a danger for the future of higher education in Ghana.”

online tv enfrans

 

 

 

“At this point in time, UG-UTAG is most focused on educating the Minister for Education,
Parliament and the Ghanaian public on the dangers of the bill. In doing this, UG-UTAG joins other
stakeholders such as the Ghana Academy of Science and Arts, which has characterized the bill as
“dangerous”, “retrogressive”, “poorly motivated” and “unjustified.”

“We suggest to NEC that the energy it has used to campaign against UG-UTAG in
the media would be better channeled to joining UG-UTAG in opposing a bill that is
inimical to work of UTAG members in all our public universities. If UTAG-NEC had
campaigned vigorously and adopted a consistent posture against the bill to begin with, we might
not be in the current position where UG-UTAG finds itself compelled to take the actions it has
taken.”

 

 

 

 

 

READ STATEMENT HERE:

RE: NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF UTAG’S RESPONSE TO THE
RESOLUTIONS PASSED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF GHANA BRANCH OF UTAG

The University of Ghana Branch of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UG-UTAG)
received a release from the National Executive Committee (NEC) of UTAG on the two
Resolutions passed by UG-UTAG during an Emergency Meeting held on Thursday 11th June 2020.
In subsequent sections of this document, UG-UTAG provides a detailed response to
the document received from NEC.

 

 

 

We reiterate that the position of UG-UTAG to NEC has been consistent and unequivocal that UTAG-National should not support the Public University Bill, and that the bill must be withdrawn from Parliament on the grounds that it is unnecessary, and that it poses a danger for the future of higher education in Ghana.

At this point in time, UG-UTAG is most focused on educating the Minister for Education,
Parliament and the Ghanaian public on the dangers of the bill. In doing this, UG-UTAG joins other
stakeholders such as the Ghana Academy of Science and Arts, which has characterized the bill as
“dangerous”, “retrogressive”, “poorly motivated” and “unjustified”.

 

 

 

 

We suggest to NEC that the energy it has used to campaign against UG-UTAG in
the media would be better channeled to joining UG-UTAG in opposing a bill that is
inimical to work of UTAG members in all our public universities. If UTAG-NEC had
campaigned vigorously and adopted a consistent posture against the bill to begin with, we might
not be in the current position where UG-UTAG finds itself compelled to take the actions it has
taken.

READ  Akufo-Addo extends border lockdown to 2 more weeks

The following sections provide details of UG-UTAG’s response.

 

 

Correction of NEC’s narration of UTAG’s position and activities on the PUB:
a. It is indeed, the case that all branches of UTAG were requested by NEC to submit their
position on the draft PUB in March 2019, for onward submission to the Ministry of Education.
b. It is indicated in Section 1a of the NEC response to UG-UTAG that all branches rejected
the document in its form at the time and proceeded to offer modifications to same, except
University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) that outrightly rejected the draft bill. It
is our understanding that UENR provided no reasons for the outright rejection. It seems to
be the case that those universities (such as UG-UTAG) that went the extra mile to provide
reasons for their REJECTION of the bill are now said to support the bill.
c. We want to state categorically that UG-UTAG advocated for REJECTION of the bill, as can
be verified from the position paper we submitted to the then NEC (attached to this document
for your reference). UG-UTAG never provided modifications to the bill, but rather gave
reasons for its rejection of the bill, as these quotes from our position paper show:
i. “It is important to note that the basic premise of a harmonised Public Universities Act is wrong
as it stands now because the intention is to create a one-size-fit-all situation for all public
universities” (Section A – Background to the bill).

 

 

 

ii. “In light of the above feedback, UG-UTAG calls for the rejection of the Bill for the following
reasons” (Section C)
iii. “It is for this reason that the Bill should not be allowed to see the light of day.”
(Conclusion section).
d. If the then NEC erroneously interpreted or deliberately misrepresented the position
document of UG-UTAG as being in support of the draft PUB, then we call on NEC to make
public the position papers of all other member institutions so that it can be verified that their
original positions have not been misrepresented in the same way that UG-UTAG’s has been.
e. UG-UTAG maintains its rejection of the PUB because the second version of the bill is not
substantially different from the version released in 2019.
f. Portions of Section 1f of the NEC letter to UTAG reads “before submitting the report to
the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education (PSCE) on 14th May 2020, the
Committee received some forwarded emails from Dr. Samuel Nkumbaan that contained the
views of some members of UTAG-UG for inclusion. The views that were in tandem with

 

 

 

 

 

the position of NEC were duly included in the report.” This is not accurate: the UGUTAG summary of the document submitted to NEC on 14th May 2020 made a case for
REJECTING the bill in any shape and form. The last statement of that document reads “UGUTAG therefore recommends and prays to UTAG-National that we should not support
such a bill, and this bill must be withdrawn from parliament”.

READ  LIVE UPDATES: Information Ministry holds press conference ahead of lockdown

 

 

g. It is important to note that the views expressed in the said document from UG-UTAG
were from a majority of UG-UTAG members who gave an overwhelming, emphatic
REJECTION of the bill. Those lecturers on campus claiming to support the PUB are faceless
and have never made their views heard in any of our meetings.

 

 

h. Portions of Section 1h of the NEC document to UG-UTAG states that the National President
in all his media engagements concerning the PUB, has always maintained that “UTAG will not accept
the PUB in its present form until ALL OUR RECOMMENDATIONS are taken on board”. We
maintain that the National President has not made a strong enough case against the PUB in
his public engagements; indeed, he has been heard in some media engagements to suggest
that even the matter of Executive control of University Councils is not a matter of concern,
in contradiction of the UTAG-National memo to parliament that mentions this as an especially
egregious aspect of the bill.

 

 

 

 

i. The latter part of Section 1f of NEC response UG-UTAG says, ”Given the role played by Prof
Appiagyei-Atua, Dr Samuel Nkumbaan, and UG in general in the preparation of the document, it is
baffling to see them dissociating themselves from it”. Indeed, it is for the contributions of these
individuals or group that it is baffling to see them not being part of the representation at the
Parliamentary Select Committee on Education. The fact that the National President
chose to make UTAG-National’s representation to Parliament without the legal
consultant who helped write the memo suggests to us that the National President
was not interested in making the strongest representation it could mount against
the bill, especially on its legal and constitutional gaps. This is just one reason that we
believe that the National President is sidelining the voices that are against the REJECTION of
the bill.

 

 

 

j. Section 2 of this document provides further evidence of the National President’s
actions and inactions that indicates that he has not served the best interest of
UTAG members in regards to the bill.

k. In sum, UTAG-NEC and, in particular, the National President has not sufficiently represented
the interest of its members in its engagements of the Public University Bill and, for these
reasons, UG-UTAG dissociates itself from the position of the national officers, and
appropriates the right to speak for itself on the REJECTION of the PUB, which we believe is
in the interest of all UTAG members in all public universities.

  1. Grounds for Impeachment of the National President
    a. UG-UTAG’s grounds for impeaching the National President are two-fold:
    i. His decision not to assemble a high-powered team to meet the Parliamentary Select
    Committee and make a forceful case for the rejection of the PUB;
    ii. His public utterances which contradict the decision of UTAG National to call for a
    rejection of the PUB as one principal argument.
    b. The National President, on Tuesday 2nd June 2020, posted on the National Executive
    Committee (NEC) WhatsApp platform the following; “National has information that the
    parliamentary subcommittee on education is calling stakeholders on PUB. We’re thinking if
    UTAG is called before our quarterly mtg (tentatively, week 2 of June) comes on, we should
    call for emergency mtg to take our final decision on our position on the bill; i.e. To thrash
    [sic] (as it seems to be the chorus now) or insist on our recommendations rather.” Thus,
    the National President acknowledges in this text that the majority view within
    UTAG is to REJECT the bill.
    c. The National President received a letter from PSCE on Friday 5th June 2020, inviting UTAG
    to attend a meeting on Tuesday 9th June 2020, and these were his actions/ inactions:i. His refusal to share this invitation letter on the NEC platform for the attention of all
    Executive Officers of member institutions.
    ii. His reluctance to call for that Emergency Meeting alert he had issued.
    iii. His unwillingness to explain why the Emergency Meeting did not take place.
    d. The National President rather chose to share the invitation letter with the Presidents of
    member institutions, and added that UTAG had only two slots to represent them, when the
    letter in fact states that the National President could appear before PSCE with four other
    representatives.e. It is interesting to note here that the National Secretary, after receiving the Resolution from
    UG-UTAG (which was sent around 10:30pm Friday 12th June), was able to arrange for a
    Virtual Emergency Meeting on Sunday 14th June 2020 at 10am. Certainly, the short notice
    from Parliament cannot be the reason National President did not call for that Emergency
    Meeting to discuss UTAG appearance in Parliament.
    f. We reiterate that the National President has not made a strong enough case against the PUB
    in his public engagements; indeed, he has been heard in some media engagements to suggest
    that even the matter of Executive control of University Councils is not necessarily a matter
READ  Exposè on NAM1, why government ‘desperately' wants him jailed

of concern, even though the UTAG-National memo to parliament mentions this as an
especially egregious aspect of the Bill.
g. UG-UTAG maintains that there is sufficient evidence that the National President is not
working in the interest of its members in regards to the unconstitutional, unnecessary
and dangerous PUB and will continue to lay the groundwork for impeachment by seeking
the endorsement of two other branch universities.
h. While we proceed with laying the grounds for impeachment, our immediate focus at this time
is working to make sure the PUB is rejected by or withdrawn from Parliament.

  1. Conclusion
    a. The details above demonstrate clearly that UG-UTAG has always advocated for the
    rejection of the PUB.
    b. In vigorously opposing a bill that is inimical to the present and future of public
    universities, UG-UTAG is acting to preserve our public universities from
    undue political influence by the Executive. It is our hope that UTAG-members in
    all other universities will join us in this important and worthy cause.
    c. We urge the President and National Executive Committee of UTAG to similarly turn their
    energies to opposing the PUB.
    d. Respectfully, UG-UTAG will not retract its original resolutions, and will offer no apology for
    the principled stand that it has taken to REJECT the PUB.

Yours Sincerely,
Dr. Bethel Kwansa-Bentum
UG-UTAG Secretary

 

Advertisements

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here