Education and Management with Nii Armah Addy….My thoughts on Ghana Public University Bill 2020 (2)

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Nii Armah Addy is an Education and Management expert

In part 1 of this series, I re-echoed the principal reason for the establishment of universities as a centre for higher education. The distinction between public and private university is that the former is financed by the state while the latter is privately owned. I recounted four (4) points namely: examination, lectures, admission and employment as some of the areas to be considered in the Ghana Public University Bill 2020.

In this second and final part of the series, I will discuss six (6) other key elements which must be considered in the Ghana Public University Bill 2020 in the continuing paragraphs.

  1. Infrastructure

Infrastructure plays key role in the quality of university education. Building necessary infrastructural facilities for students’ development cannot be over emphasised. In the past where an infrastructural project which start and are never completed or takes many years to complete do not reflect the expected reasonability of the university community.

Whatever reason that can be alluded or adduced for the non-completion of university projects are unacceptable and should be a thing of the past in the Ghana Public University Bill 2020. A good example is the University of Ghana mini stadium.

The Ghana Public University Bill 2020 must ensure that projects are started and completed as planned and that without the completion of a project no new project must start. There can be exemptions in cases where funding for a new project is fully secured and lodged into the university’s Bank Account.

Under the Ghana Public University Bill 2020, infrastructure project for universities must be approved, monitored and evaluated by the central management organogram of public universities. As a matter of fact university projects must no longer be handled by individual university. The longevity is completing infrastructure projects in public universities is nothing good to write home about.

For example in the University of Ghana, other projects as the New Business School Campus and the New Faculty of Law took forever to complete. And as to what levels of enrolment increase those projects have brought is worthy of my future enquiry.

  1. Research

University without viable research for national development is not yet qualified to be a university. Under the Ghana Public University Bill 2020, research development should be fulcrum for qualification to the management of Ghana Public University structure. The Bill must make it necessary for governments to consult the university research hub for national research projects and this must be very well resourced.

The Ghana Public University Bill 2020 must cure the mischief where without international funding there is little or no internal funding for research. This Bill must be vociferous on research by the universities. When funding for research is made available then there can be mandatory targets for researchers to meet.

The Ghana Public University Bill 2020 in my thought should not only enforce research but also see to the implementation of the research. Else to what end should a developing country like Ghana spend scarce resources on research when it laudable findings cannot be implemented?

  1. Publications

Research must lead to publications. The situation where some public universities do not have academic journals must be a thing of the past. The Ghana Public University 2020 Bill must enforce journal publications by all departments in the universities.

As mentoring universities to many private universities, public universities must have academic journals to nature the research capabilities of private universities that are young in the academic arena. It pays no dividend if Ghanaian academics have to continue publishing their research papers in foreign journals including Nigeria. What is it that Nigerian universities are doing that Ghanaian public universities can’t do or emulate?

In other places, there are publications for students’ amateur academic works. It is true that there is no vibrant reading culture in Ghana, but that is not to say that publications that hinges on students’ academic work should be ignored by students.

  1. Financing

The Ghana Public University Bill 2020 is not enough if there is no funding to implement the dictates of the Bill. Financing must be structured in ways that ensures that individual universities do not contract loans that will become albatross on the government’s neck.

In my thoughts financing the Ghana Public University Bill 2020 is very critical to the realisation of the potency of the Bill. Sources of funding, approval of budgets, disbursement of funds, monitoring and evaluation of projects are but some of the key financing policies to be clearly spelt out in the Bill.

Government must consciously allocate money from the annual budget for the realisation of the aspirations of the Ghana University Bill 2020 in key areas espoused in this series of articles. Funding the aspirations of the Bill should not be solely reliant of donor funding.

It must be the case that even if donor funding are not forthcoming, key elements of the Bill must be carried on smoothly. External funding must only be an added advantage.

  1. Appointment and promotion

Another efficacy of the Ghana University Bill 2020 will be to find lasting solution to the issue of appointment and promotions in public universities. Why should public universities have different appointment and promotion standards? This gives an impression of superiority of some universities lecturers over their colleagues in other universities.

The phenomenon of different standards in appointment and promotions of Ghana’s public university lecturers has seemingly fostered equal perceived superiority of graduates from different public universities. I maintain that unevenness in public education provision leads to segregation which is not good for the human resource development of the country particularly when they are funded by the tax payer’s money.

How is it the case that in same public universities, a lecturer who is qualified to teach in one university is not qualified in the other university? This is a matter of policy enforcement by the regulatory authority i.e. the National Accreditation Board. This has further given the perception that policy implementation by the regulator is tilled to favour public university over private universities.

Another big issue for the Ghana Public University Bill 2020 to consider the argument of industry experience by lecturers. Is it the case that only the academically qualified is justified to teach in the university even when the person has no real world industry experience? What is the priority vis-à-vis the development needs of the country?

  1. Politicisation

Bad party politics in Ghana seem to be derailing all the colonial and early post-independence gains. The public universities has become the big playing field for political manoeuvring where underserving politicians jump on the bandwagon of political power to dictates the management of public university when their own academic qualifications gives reason to raise eye brows.

In my thoughts, the only way the Ghana Public University Bill 2020 will succeed is when its management organogram is devoid of political machinations. Unlike the National Development Planning Authority which has become a huge failure in my view, due to politics, the management of the Ghana Public University Bill 2020 must be outright independent non-political minded professionals and academics who are altruistic about the development of academia and professionalism in the country.

  1. Leadership  

Leadership is everything. It stems from the inner reflection and manifests outwardly through our works. There is good leadership and bad leadership. Part of the problem of Africa’s under development is usually attributed to its poor leadership of which Ghana’s public universities are not exempted. The Ghana Public University Bill 2020 will only succeed with decisive leadership who have demonstrable works through performance and not promised potential with no real consistent track records.

In conclusion, the Ghana Public University Bill 2020 must bring all public universities in Ghana under a single management organogram devoid of political distorted influence as seen in all public sectors in Ghana. If this can be achieved, university education in Ghana will resurrect to the performance where our forbearers left it.

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