The Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Education has announced that the President will henceforth appoint Chancellors for public universities in the country once the Tertiary Education Policy is passed into law.
Speaking at a special forum on Tertiary education reforms, the Executive Secretary for National Council for Tertiary Education Prof. Mohammed Salifu said the Chancellor shall be appointed by the president following a recommendation made by the governing council.
Aside that, Prof. Salifu said the Vice-Chancellor along with other officers in the institution shall be appointed by the governing council in accordance with Article 195(3) of the 1992 constitution.
Although there has been public outcry of massive interference in public universities if the bill is passed into law, Prof. Salifu debunked those allegations saying government has no plans interfering or controlling the affairs of the universities.
“We’ve had concerns that if you appoint a Chancellor then you’re controlling everybody. But I keep wondering I mean, when you form a business, you take control of the board and you decide how the board decisions are done isn’t it? If you are a public institution, government naturally has to have the determinacy in what you do. This shouldn’t be a problem; appointment of Chancellor…the PNDC laws actually empower the President himself to do that”, he said.
According to him, the move is to see to it that all universities will be under one policy that will aid to properly regulate the tertiary education sector.
Prof. Salifu further made mention of government’s plan to reduce the number of members on the Governing Council of the various public universities in the country from 17 to between 9 and 13.
Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh explaining the rationale behind it said “Majority of the existing provisions stipulate 17 members, out of which 9 members are from within the university. The University of Ghana has extra provision for the appointment of 6 others from outside the university, including the Vice-Chancellor of an African university. The proposal is to limit the number to between 9 and 13. This is to make the number more manageable and effective and to reduce cost. The Councils may, however, co-opt extra hands to assist in deliberations. It is also proposed that in line with corporate best practice, the majority of the members come from outside the university”.
Other amendments in the new tertiary education reform include the splitting of the University of Development Studies into UTAS and UBIDS, outsourcing of halls of residence in public universities, having a Centralised Applications and Placements Service (CAPS) for public universities, tuition been free for all Ghanaian students, among others.
Preparation of the new educational policy began in February 2017 and received Cabinet approval on May 9, 2019.
A draft public university bill is being prepared to support the policy.
This came to light at a forum on tertiary education reforms held on Friday, June 14, 2019, in Accra.
The forum was to sensitize and create awareness about the Tertiary Education Policy and the legislative and institutional reform implications of the Policy.
The Policy comes under five structures namely: Governance and Management, Equity and Access, Quality and Relevance, Financing, Crosscutting issues.