University professors in Ghana are not happy campers; they are up in arms over the NPP administration’s suggestion that some members of university councils should come from outside the campuses.
To this end, the administration has already drafted a bill that is currently under consideration in parliament.
If passed, the bill, will hand government the unprecedented authority to influence the decision-making process at our higher educational institutions.
As was expected, the proposal immediately ran into a wall of resistance; it has been strenuously lambasted by the protesting lecturers and their supporters and by those who sense an over-reach by the Addo administration.
And the reason for this groundswell of opposition is rooted in the fear that we are abandoning democratic norms and rapidly embracing the ugly and grotesque tenets of strongarm dictatorship.
In democratic societies this just isn’t done; authorities do not poke their noses in the affairs of universities; instead what democratic governments do is stay as far away as they can from universities; they indeed leave universities alone to do what they do best and that is to educate the young and conduct research.
One thing Mr. Addo and his friends are conveniently forgetting is that even though universities are financed largely by the public purse, they are generally considered untouchable entities.
The government’s response to the avalanche of criticism is lame and pathetic. Its rationale for advancing this move is deeply suspicious and does not hold water; one thing is abundantly clear to all those who care about good governance and it is this: the NPP is desperately trying to control dissent, to muzzle opposition to its policies and to ram down our throats, its dictatorial tendencies. It is a naked power grab, pure and simple.
What gags me and I believe angers many other Ghanaians is the government’s porous argument that its appointees on university councils will be the eyes and ears of the Ghanaian public whose taxes go to finance the day to day administration of these institutions. This is just plain silly.
They, the government appointees will be put there for one main purpose and that is to effectively control what universities say vis a vis government policy.
Of late our university councils have become fiercely independent and that perhaps is a source of great worry to Mr. Addo and his friends. The NPP government just can’t take criticism lying down. It is about time, it develops a thick skin.
The NPP government has no legs to stand on this all-important issue. As such it will do Ghanaians a great favor were it to withdraw the bill and shelve it, never to revive it again. Look, it is not worth the precious time and effort.