Education Minister Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh says government has no intention whatsoever to interfere in the management of tertiary institutions in the country.
He said issues raised by some stakeholders that government intends to use the newly drafted Public Universities bill to take center stage in managing the affairs of public tertiary institutions, do not hold.
Speaking at a forum on tertiary education reforms, Dr. Opoku Prempeh said government through the Ministry of Education is only seeking to rope in all universities under one policy to properly regulate the tertiary education sector.
Government was criticised for trying to hide behind the draft bill to take over the management of public universities when contents of the document became public.
A former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey said the new policy will enable government to interfere with management of tertiary institutions as well as stifle internal initiatives that spring up within these institutions.
But the Dr Opoku Prempeh rubbished these concerns, stating that the policy will place Ghana at par with global tertiary institutions while improving tertiary education in the country.
“…Ours was not to tinker with the management of tertiary institutions, not at all,” he stated at the forum on Friday.
He also stated that his Ministry has extensively engaged all stakeholders within the education sector to ensure that a holistic education policy is birthed.
“A draft bill was given to all the stakeholders to take it through their communities and give us suggestions on how to improve the draft bill, ” Dr. Opoku Prempeh explained.
Meanwhile, Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education, Professor Mohammed Salifu explained the bill part of measures being taken to improve tertiary education in Ghana,
Prof Salifu said the new bill will make room for tertiary students to enjoy what could be described as limited free education.
“Tuition shall be free for Ghanaian students except those who opt for fee-paying category,” he said, but checks by 3news.com have revealed that tuition is already free for all students at the various public universities in the country.
He noted that students will only pay academic user facility fees, residential facility user fees, as well as utility fees.
Non-Ghanaian students will however pay the full cost of their education, he stated.
Highlighting some key interventions in the draft bill, Prof Salifu mentioned Governance and Management, Equity and Access, Quality and Relevance, Financing and Cross-cutting issues as the five thematic areas in the draft bill.
As part of measures to run a proper system, tertiary institutions are expected to generate at least 30% of their annual budget internally.
By Irene Amesimeku| 3news.com|Ghana