“Be careful in weaning public varsities of gov payroll”

former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Philip Ebow Bondzie-Simpson, has advised government to hasten slowly with any measure aimed at weaning public universities from government payroll.

The country, he said, was not ready for the implementation of such policy because it has a tendency of affecting the smooth running of public universities.

A draft of such road map, Prof. Bondzie-Simpson stated, must be subjected to discussions by the various universities. 

Prof. Bondzie-Simpson made the call at a forum organised by the University of Cape Coast (UCC) branch of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) as part of the 60th anniversary of the university.

It was on the theme: “Weaning public universities from Government of Ghana payroll: implications for tertiary education landscape.”

 Prof. Bondzie-Simpson said “weaning off the universities did not mean there would be no support for other programmes. It does not mean there should be no support for capital projects.”

Prof. George K.T. Oduro, former Pro Vice Chancellor of UCC, explained that public universities were established by tax payers’ money and must remain public.

He said “The charging of realistic fees as proposed by others would disadvantage majority of poor people within the country.”

The proposal if implemented, Prof. Oduro said, “will stifle university access to adequate faculty and staff with requisite skills to manage professional portfolios.”

He said, if currently the universities could not meet the staff demand, the total wean would not be well for the institution.

Prof. Oduro noted that it would worsen the already heavy teaching load of faculty and affect quality course delivery and research output.

 The Director General of the Institute of Education Planning and Administration, Dr Michael Boakye-Yiadom, said that public universities needed to improve on the generation of revenue to support funds provided by government.

He said programmes run at the university must be administered with business mentality to get the right dividends.

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, in an address read on his behalf, underscored the important role of academia to national development.

He stated that, “every public policy reform, would generate social benefit and cost and that does not mean the country should sacrifice the development of human resource especially at the state of the national development efforts.”

Mr Ofori-Atta said the proposal if adopted by government, might require legislative reforms that would enable public tertiary institutions to have a free hand to run their institutions efficiently.

The President of UCC-UTAG, Dr Bert Boadi-Kusi, stated that UTAG at its recent negotiation for better conditions of service, mentioned the weaning of the universities as one of the ways to get realistic salaries for its members though they were not oblivious of its implications.

Pix: Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adu Twum

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