The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) is warning of a possible strike action in all Public Universities, if the situation at the University of Education, Winneba does not change for the better.
According to the lecturers, if the stakeholders in the Educational Sector do not resolve the on-going legal battle between the top Management of the School and one Supi Kofi, they have no other choice than to withdraw their services, in protest against what they call an “attack on academic freedom” by external forces.
The National President of the Association, who is also a lecturer at The Department of The Study of Religions, University of Ghana, Legon, Dr. Harry Agbanu, gave the hint in an interview with gbconline in Accra.
According to him, UTAG has written to the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education to call a meeting of some personalities to discuss the issues as part of their diplomatic effort to resolve the problem, without jeopardizing the coming academic year.
He said, “we are having calls from our members and there is a consensus among members as to what should be done if the injunction is not lifted”.
He added that “if the Governing Council of that University is not able to resolve the issue amicably, then it must become a national issue whereby, all University Teachers in Ghana will withdraw teaching services on their various campuses”.
Currently, some of the Universities have started receiving the Level 100 Students, and it is expected that full lectures will commence by the end of August, 2017, but Dr. Agbanu fears a possible disruption of the academic calendar if care is not taken.
He said, UTAG has tried everything humanly possible, including several press statements in an attempt to get government to resolve the challenges but all fell on deaf ears.
As part of its efforts to be listened to, lecturers of Public Universities on Monday, 14th August, wore red bands and black attires, following the directives given by UTAG executives, at its last emergency meeting on the injunction placed on UEW.
On the Court ruling which placed an injunction on the Vice Chancellor, leading to the closure of the school and its satellite campuses, Dr. Agbanu, stated that, “it’s our duty to protect the institutions. No Court, no individual has the right to impose a Management on any of the institutions.
“The Constitution says tha there should be no political interference in the administration of Universities and it’s only the Governing Council that the makes ultimate decision for the Universities”.
The University of Education has been in the news for some time now, following a Court action instituted by Supi Kofi Kwayera, against the School, arguing that, the Vice Chancellor and Finance Manager were taking decisions under a defunct Governing Council.
The Plaintiff acting through his lawyer, Alex Afenyo Markin, said, the University Council’s mandate had ended in November 2013, but the Education Minister failed to constitute a new Governing Council for the University, and rather permitted the defunct Council which had no mandate whatsoever to continue the functions of a properly constituted Governing Council as if same had been properly constituted.
The plaintiff is seeking the following reliefs currently before the High Court in Winneba: A declaration that the extension of the mandate of the Governing Council of the 1st Respondent by the 2nd respondent to stay in office to perform such functions as a properly appointed council was in breach of Section 8, Act 672.
A declaration that all decisions taken by the defacto body of persons who constituted themselves as Governing Council is null and void and of no effect.
A declaration that the contracts awarded to Sparkxx Gh Ltd, Paabadu Construction and C-Deck, were done in breach of the Procurement Act (Act 663).
A declaration that all payments made to Lamas Ltd were done without the express written consent of the Ghana Highway Authority, and in breach of the Memorandum of Understanding and same must be refunded.
A declaration that the illegally appointed Principal Officers of the 1st Respondent willfully misappropriated public funds by failing to put to public tender for the construction of the North campus road and thereby causing financial loss to the state.