The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has said that government’s persistent interference in the operations of universities affect their performances in world rankings.
President Mahama, in an evening encounter on GTV stated last week that until universities generates their own monies to pay lecturers and other staff, government cannot grant it full autonomy.
But in an exclusive interview with this reporter, Dr. Harry Agbanu, UTAG President said his organization believes it is because of these interferences from government that Ghanaian public universities fall short of being ranked among top universities.
“We have the infrastructure, we have the manpower but because of these interferences we are not able to operate the way we want to operate and we are supposed to compete with other Universities”, he maintained.
Though he agrees with government’s role in poking its nose into the financial matters of the Universities because of the subventions it gives the institutions, he thinks it should not go beyond that.
He said they are in a situation where government interferes with student admissions and universities are not free to recruit as and when they want.
“Even when government agencies like the Public Services Commission approves he number of people to be recruited by the various tertiary institutions, it must seek financial clearance with the Ministry of Finance who invariably decides on the number of people to be recruited this is not autonomy”, he indicated.
“Invariably, the decision to recruit and when to recruit is not made by the University administrators but somebody in the Ministry of Finance who knows next to nothing about what happens within the University system and what the universities must be doing”, Dr. Agbanu added.
He wanted to know how the universities could bring out its best when government insist that Universities admit more students without allowing recruitment on required number of lecturers, breaching the lecturer to students ratio, according to National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) standards.
According to the UTAG president even what government pay as subvention is dwindling, saying it was appropriate for government not to demand accountability for every activity of the universities.
He pointed out that government’s total contribution in last year’s expenditure for University of Ghana alone was 41 percent.
“So if Government knows it’s not able to give the universities the full complement of the finances they need, and they generating funds and they are operating the way they are operating then it is unfair to say you don’t know how IGF are used for”, he posited.
Dr. Agbanu urged government to empathize with the universities and allow them to operate the way they should operate in order to be ranked among the top institutions in the world.