21st May 2024

The Ministry of Education has asked the flagbearer of the opposition NDC, former President John Dramani Mahama, to apprise himself with relevant information before speaking on national issues.

“Ex-President Mahama is entitled to speak on any matter but must first be educated and informed. It is wholly unacceptable for person of his stature to pander to partisan politicking on such an important issue without ascertaining the facts simply because it is an election year,” said the Ministry.

In a statement issued yesterday, and signed by Rodney Nkrumah Boateng, Press Secretary to the Minister, the ministry stated that the former President’s penchant of jumping onto any trending issue without apprising himself of the relevant facts “smacks of desperation”.

“Ghanaians are yearning for clear, innovative policy alternatives from the political parties, not mere promises of reviews and abolitions/repeals,” it further stated.

Call for withdrawal of PUB

The ministry’s statement was in response to a call by Mr Mahama for the withdrawal of the Public University Bill (PUB), 2020, from Parliament.

“Government must listen to the concerns of key stakeholders and withdraw the Public Universities Bill,” Mr Mahama said in a statement.

“I want to, however, assure the people of Ghana and the academic community that should government proceed and pass the Bill into an Act of Parliament, I will not hesitate to initiate steps for its immediate repeal, as a matter of priority, if, God willing, I assume office as President in January 2021,” he added.

The NDC’s flagbearer, without citing any specific sections of the bill, argued further that “The Bill, as it stands, does not only risk undermining academic innovation and ingenuity; it will also jettison decades of scholarly excellence and adversely affect Ghana’s position as the preferred destination for international scholarly collaboration.”

False claims

The Ministry of Education, after giving a trajectory of how the Bill came into being, said “Government does not accept the view that the Bill, when passed into law, will stifle academic freedom and undermine research and innovation.”

“Did the passage of Technical University Act signed into law by John Mahama stifle academic freedom or stifle individual technical universities autonomy?” the Ministry quizzed.

The statement explained that rather than stifling academic freedom, as purported by Mr Mahama, the government, in addition to the restoration of the Book and Research Allowance abolished by the NDC government, has recently approved a “200 per cent increase in the research allowance, from the GHS500 introduced under His Excellency President John Agyekum Kufuor, to GHS1,500.”

“Further to this, government has laid before Parliament, the Ghana Research Fund Bill, whose purpose, when enacted into law, is to establish a Ghana Research Fund to provide for funds and to support national research in tertiary and research institutions,” the Ministry said.

 

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