Education Ministry moves to settle POTAG, NCTE impasse

April 12, 2017
Source: Benson AFFUL/thebftonline.com/Ghana
Education Ministry moves to settle POTAG, NCTE impasse

The Ministry of Education has called for calm on the tension that is brewing between the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) and the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) over accusation by the teachers association that the NCTE was acting beyond its powers.

Director in charge of Tertiary Education at the Education Ministry, Cephas Mensah, told the B&FT that his outfit is brokering dialogue between the two parties and will ensure that “calm is restored to put the interest of the technical universities first”.

He said: “This is purely an administrative and governance issue and it is not so critical that stakeholders cannot handle.” But he was quick to add that the situation could have dire effect on technical education in the country.

“POTAG is a key stakeholder; so we will not trash their concerns but rather look at it and address it amicably for the betterment of technical universities.”

POTAG has accused the NCTE over what it claims is the usurpation of powers of the various university councils by the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) with regards to the transition process of polytechnics to technical universities.

POTAG said NCTE’s violations of the Technical Universities Act, 2016 (Act 922) is causing disturbances and agitations and could result in likely court actions if government does not intervene immediately.

Since conversion last August, technical universities have not wasted time at all in rebranding, as visitors to any of the eight approved ones will be welcomed in bold print at their entrance that the term “polytechnic” is no longer applicable.

Government has already given each of the eight polytechnics converted so far US$2.25million to facilitate the conversion process.

But POTAG in a statement said “After the conversion of the polytechnics to technical universities, Act 922 vested the running of these institutions in the hands of the various university councils, but in what looks like a display of power, the NCTE, through its executive secretary, Prof Mohammed Salifu, is acting ultra vires and usurping the functions of these councils, making the various unions agitated and planning huge demonstrations against their unlawful acts.”
For this reason, POTAG is demanding the immediate reconstitution of the governing councils of the technical universities by government to enable the institutions champion their smooth transition as mandated by the Technical Universities Act, 2016 (ACT 922) and the conversion of the two remaining Polytechnics (Bolgatanga and Wa) by putting the necessary measures in place to get them converted into technical universities as soon as practicable.

Sources close to the Accra Technical University administration also told the B&FT in January that since the institution has no established governing council, all officials are, at the moment, in acting positions, until the school gets in governing board.

“The current authorities are just sort of acting; because we are now a university, there should be an established governing board that will appoint the vice-chancellor, pro vice-chancellor and registrar, who can then have the full authority to facilitate developments in the school.

Until this is done the institution will remain the same despite the change of name to a university,” the source told the B&FT.