Vice President of the Policy Think Tank IMANI Africa, Mr. Kofi Bentil, has joined the mounting opposition to speak against the drafted public universities bill maintaining that the bill, when passed into law, would give too much power to political actors and limit academic freedom.
Many have raised concerns that the new bill will only grant more power to a section of people in the management of public universities.
Among other concerns raised over the Bill are the proposal for the number of University Council members to be reduced from fifteen (15) to nine (9), the power of the President to appoint five (5) of the council members and the power of the President to dissolve the council in case of emergency and put in place an interim committee.
Reacting to these developments, Mr. Bentil on Radio Univers’ morning show Campus Exclusive indicated that the bill, when it becomes legislation, would not only place limitations on academic freedom but also concentrate excessive power in the hands of political actors.
Whether they send it or not the effect of what they are doing is that there will too much power in the hands of political actors and the first thing that they must note; that is those in power today must note is that they will not be in power forever. So even if they had good intentions, there’s no guarantee that whoever is going to be the political actor next time will have the same good intentions they had. Which is why we have checks and balances and one of the ultimate checks and balances is to ensure that there is academic freedom.
Mr. Bentil further intimated that although not yet a law, the universities draft bill discloses the goals backing it, which contradict the existence of the ordered freedom in the academic field. He added that this creates a chain of uncertainties which are needless.
It is important that we also note that it is a bill; at this point it is not a law. A bill is essentially a proposal but the proposal gives you an idea of the intention of the people who put it forward. Even though it is not a law, it reveals the intention of the people who put it out and this will conflict the existing statutes; it will be in conflict with the established norms of academic freedom and indeed it will open a Pandora’s Box and we are not sure where it’s going to end.
Mr. Bentil iterated that the bill proposition also crucially reveals the philosophy of its proposers which is unclear and ultimately described it as a very bad idea.
By: Linda Agyei Kwarteng Mensah | universnewsroom