Private legal practitioner Yaw Sarpong has said the newly proposed Public Universities Bill, whose passage and implementation will alter the composition of public university councils, is a move in the right direction.
The position of the lawyer is in sharp contrast with that of members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) who fear the new bill, when passed, will compromise the semi-autonomous status of public universities.
Particularly vociferous on this matter is associate professor at the University of Ghana, Ransford Yaw Gyampo, who has among other things described the bill as “bogus”.
“The basic premise of a harmonised Public Universities Act, is not only wrong but absurd, as it seeks to make all public universities ‘look the same’,” Prof Gyampo argued in an opinion piece.
But lawyer Sarpong does not see anything wrong with the objective of the law. In his submission on TV3’s Saturday morning current affairs show, The Key Points, Mr. Sarpong maintained there is no cause for alarm, explaining the bill will only consolidate all the laws governing the various universities, some of which he said had become obsolete.
“I think that there is nothing wrong with government proposing…to our representatives in Parliament to consider the matters that are being expressed in this bill,” he said.
He explained that there are different laws that govern different tertiary institutions and that it is only right for the government to seek to synchronise all those laws under one act. He added that some of the laws governing some of the public institutions were passed many years ago and thus are unable to address current issues.
“I don’t see anything wrong at all with a law that is passed to harmonize the various [laws in tertiary institutions],” he reiterated.
He however admits that the only thing he finds worrying in the bill is the provision that gives five out of nine slots to government appointees, but acknowledges further consultations could be done.