PRESS STATEMENT BY POTAG, HTU
CONSTITUTION OF GOVERNING COUNCILS IS LONG OVER DUE;
CONSTITUTE THEM NOW OR SHUT DOWN ALL PUBLIC TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
Since the dissolution of the Governing Councils of all public tertiary institutions by the Presidential Transition Act 2012 (Act 845) on 7th January 2017, the Polytechnics and Technical Universities have been operating without Governing Councils.
This necessitated a meeting between the Minister of Education, his Deputies, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Education, the Executive Secretary of NCTE and the leadership of POTAG on 13th April, 2017 in the Minister’s Conference Room, MoE in Accra, where the urgent need to constitute Governing Councils for the Polytechnics and the Technical Universities was the major concern of POTAG.
In the said meeting, POTAG explained how the non-existence of Councils since January 2017, has stalled the transition process and the smooth running of the Technical Universities and Polytechnics to the Minister. POTAG specially appealed to the Minister to prioritize and expedite action on the processes to enable the President constitute these Councils by the end of April 2017 due to the exigencies of the situation. The Minister in his response to the appeal by POTAG assured that the Councils of all public tertiary institutions would be inaugurated latest by June 2017. POTAG registered its displeasure about the June deadline since we believed it was too far away but in the end, we agreed in order to give the Minister the benefit of the doubt.
The June deadline given by the Minister of Education has elapsed and the Councils have not been constituted as promised and no communication has been given in that regard. Attempts, so far by POTAG, to get information regarding the status of the Councils only attracted the usual political rhetoric ‘plans are far advanced’.
Without the Governing Councils;
• We would not be able to graduate our students who are due for graduation let alone plan the graduation of the batch that has just completed.
• Senior Members, especially teachers, cannot be promoted from one rank to the other.
• Budgets cannot be approved for the smooth running of the institutions.
• The Management of the various institutions cannot take urgent decisions that have long term implications.
• Technically, admissions for fresh men and women cannot be advertised, hence students cannot be admitted etc.
The inability of public tertiary institutions, especially the Technical Universities and Polytechnics, to perform the above-mentioned functions in the absence of Councils has put them in a state of inertia and hopelessness.
Our students who are due for graduation and yet cannot be graduated are getting frustrated, depressed and constantly harassing University Authorities and teachers with telephone calls on daily basis.
Teachers who are awaiting promotion from one rank to the other are getting anxious and desperate with the tick of the clock for fear of losing their back pay due to the fact that the Controller and Accountant Generals Department will only pay three months arrears upon promotion.
In order to constitute a Governing Council, The President appoints the Chairman and the Ministry of Education appoints two representatives to add to representatives from Unions and other stakeholder groupings as enshrined in our Statutes. We are, therefore, at a loss what could have held this process up for more than six months in government.
We are, by this Press Statement, calling on the President to constitute the Councils now or shut down all public tertiary institutions or we strike en bloc.
We, also, want to use this opportunity to remind government to expedite action on the payment of our Book and Research Allowances for the 2016/2017 Academic year because it is overdue.
Finally, we wish to appeal to The Parliament of Ghana to take a second look at the Presidential Transition Act 2012 (Act 845) and give a window of opportunity to Councils of tertiary institutions to be in an acting position and only be dissolved when new ones are constituted, given their strategic role in national development.
ALBERT LAURENT SAKABUTU
(CHAIRMAN OF POTAG, HO TECHNICAL UNIVERISTY)