In most nations, the appointment of a female vice-chancellor at its most prestigious college is ordinarily a second of celebration as a different milestone on the street to gender equality is handed.
The arrival of Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo to the helm of the College of Ghana this month feels rather distinctive. That is no slight on my new boss, who is hugely qualified and will likely verify a popular and capable leader. In addition, when only 8 for each cent of Ghana’s professors are ladies – and male pupils outnumber feminine college students by virtually two to just one – her elevation to v-c, albeit in an acting ability, remains a substantial landmark for our academy. Earlier, only two women have risen to the rank of pro v-c, herself and Florence Dolphyne.
As a substitute, my feelings switch to the up coming phase in initiatives to obtain a everlasting leader. Considering the fact that 2004, my university has taken gain of Ghana’s structure, passed in 1992, which prohibited the president from both serving as chancellor or straight appointing a person. Alternatively, a chancellor ought to be decided on by the university council. In turn, the chancellor can also pick a council chair whose panel will appoint a vice-chancellor.
These considerably circular governance preparations have been not best but they largely taken off political patronage and cronyism from management decisions – contrary to nations around the world like Turkey where college rectors are now routinely handpicked by its president, even if their tutorial qualifications are not normally powerful.
Regretably, legislation handed in 2010 taken off this important safeguard of educational liberty in Ghana. The ability to appoint the council chair was taken absent from the chancellor and the educational board, and placed in the fingers of the president. This rearrangement is dependent on the flawed assert that a college council is the similar as the Ghana Tertiary Training Commission. For that reason, all general public universities have adopted the identical approach.
But a college regulator and a university are two incredibly independent and distinctive entities with diverse people and functions. At a technical degree, the commission is a community body answerable to ministers, even though a university council is not – or should not be, at least.
University councils are now deemed as public boards or firms. Primarily based on the provisions of the 2012 Presidential (Changeover) Act, all boards and organizations (including college councils) ceased to exist from January when the president was sworn into office environment subsequent his re-election.
In advance of then, the tenure of some governing administration appointees on the council and period of some college councils had expired and the government prolonged their lifespans. Having said that, no new extensions ended up issued when the most up-to-date just one expired in Could 2021, and the general public universities had been left in limbo for months, subject matter to arbitrary rule by some college administrators whose steps could not be checked by non-existent university boards.
This chaotic arrangement did minor to assist the lookup for a new permanent vice-chancellor for my institution. While the government look for for a vice-chancellor commenced in December, a lawsuit was also filed to Accra’s higher court challenging the mandate of the steering committee, boasting that some members of the search panel had been associates of the past council and, as their phrase has expired, their existence on the committee was illegal.
The appointment of the new university council chair Sophia Akuffo – who experienced as a lawyer under Ghana’s recent president Nana Akufo-Addo – and the generation of a new college council may perhaps signify a refreshing begin, but it will not reassure students that academia can stay above partisan countrywide politics.
It was to prevent these a quagmire that people who framed Ghana’s constitution, in their knowledge, created a procedure the place a president is allowed to replace a restricted amount of university council associates only soon after the expiration of his or her expression or when a new governing administration comes to electric power, alternatively than reconstituting the full board from scratch.
This way, rampant interference and intermittent disruption of university work through the termination of their college councils would not arise and governing councils will carry on their functions uninterrupted.
Instead, I panic political tinkering will dictate how my university and Ghana’s larger training establishments extra typically will be run. The universities must not be held to ransom in this way by the powers that be.
Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua is affiliate professor at the College of Legislation at the University of Ghana.