Members of the Takoradi Technical University (TTU) Chapter of the Technical University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (TUTAG) and other staff of the University yesterday hit the streets of Sekondi to protest against the decision by the Ministry of Education to distort governance processes and administration of technical universities.
They held placards, some of which read “Stop the Discrimination,” “Napo Must Be Fair” “Salifu Must of NCTE Go” and “NCTE Must Allow Technical University Councils to Work,” among others.
Clad in mostly red attire and wristbands, the demonstrators marched through some streets in Sekondi and ended at the Regional Coordinating Council where they presented their petition to the Deputy Regional Minister, Gifty Kusi, for onward submission to the president.
According to them, the Technical University Act, 2016 (Act 922) came into force in 2016 with the conversion of six polytechnics to technical universities.
“On January 26, 2018, the Minister of Education laid the Technical Universities (Amendment) Bill 2017 before Parliament for consideration. We have pursued the Amendment Bill and have come to the conclusion that the Bill has the tendency to distort the stable and enduring governance processes, structure, culture and administration of public universities in Ghana,” they asserted.
They stated “the move by the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, popularly called ‘Napo,’ to amend Act 922 smacks of bad faith and show of power.”
They explained that the Minister had been duly furnished with legal processes pending before court challenging the authority of the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) in issuing directives to the Governing Councils of Technical Universities to approve statutes compiled by the NCTE.
“We are therefore calling for the withdrawal of the Amendment Bill,” they indicated.
Addressing the media, the President of the TTU chapter of TUTAG, Peter Awini Seidu, noted that in line with the transitional provisions as stipulated in Section 42 of Act 922, the Governing Councils of the Polytechnics designated as Technical Universities became Interim Councils to oversee the transitional period of a year as specified in the Act.
He added that to ensure the implementation of the Act, each Technical University Governing Council has been empowered to enact statutes to regulate the appointment, conditions of service and retirement benefits of staff at each technical University.
“The Interim Council of TTU diligently performed its functions by leading the transitional processes specified in Act 922 and successfully enacted statutes in line with the Act to ensure effective governance of the internal affairs of the University,” he said.
Mr Seidu however, mentioned that following the inauguration of six Governing Councils of the Technical Universities by the Minister of Education in September 2017, the Executive Secretary of the NCTE, Prof Mohamed Salifu, issued directives to the respective councils.
“The Councils were directed to circulate draft documents the NCTE had compiled and requested the Councils to collate inputs so that the NCTE will incorporate the collated inputs into final drafts for the Councils to approve as governance instruments for Technical Universities in Ghana,” he added.
Mr Seidu noted that upon receipt of the draft documents, the leadership of TUTAG in Takoradi indicated that the TTU had already enacted statutes for the University in line with Act 922 and that the NCTE, as an advisory body to the Minister of Education, has no mandate to compile statutes and conditions of service for staff of Technical Universities.
“The proposed amendments largely seek to grant powers to the NCTE to perform functions, which generally fall within the purview of the Governing Councils, the Academic Boards and the Principal Officers of universities in Ghana,” he stressed.
He revealed that “the move by the Minister of Education to have Act 922 amended to expand the functions of the NCTE to include the drafting of statutes and determining the internal organization of Technical Universities in Ghana is misplaced and discriminatory.”
“We strongly believe that only the first schedule of Act 922 may be amended to increase the list of Technical Universities by the addition of Cape Coast, Tamale, Wa and Bolgatanga Technical Universities based on the conversion criteria,” he pointed out.
He, therefore, called on the President and Parliament to withdraw the Amendment Bill forthwith.
The Deputy Regional Minister, after receiving the petition, advised the demonstrators to send a copy to the Education Committee in Parliament through the Clerk and that since the government is a listening one, their concerns would be addressed.