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No need for strike to protest amendment bill - Prof. Yankah urges technical universities

Author: Severious Kale-Dery
Professor Kwesi Yankah
Professor Kwesi Yankah

The Ministry of Education has appealed to staff of technical universities in the country to go back to work and use other means to air their grievances.

“I will urge them to immediately go back to work and then use other means of redress to state their concerns,” the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, appealed.

In an interview, he said the decision of the staff of the technical universities to wear red bands was a disturbing development, saying: “I must say I am really disturbed.”

Concerns of technical universities

Staff of technical universities have threatened to embark on a sit-down strike to register their protest at the Technical Universities Amendment Bill currently before Parliament.

They claim sections of the bill were inimical to the operations of the universities.

They said there were provisions in the amendment bill that constituted subtle ways of eroding their autonomy by vesting powers in the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) to be the ultimate decision-making body for the day-to-day running of the universities.

Currently, the technical universities are run by governing councils. The members of staff believe that empowering the NCTE would allow the long arm of the government to interfere with the running of the universities.

Make use of window of opportunity

However, Prof. Yankah said the bill was before Parliament and described it as an opportune time for the management and staff of the technical universities to submit memoranda or make other suggestions on the provisions in the amendment bill.

“Once the bill has not been passed by Parliament and grounds are being prepared for this, this is probably the best time you can make the relevant interventions because bills are normally not passed until they have been taken round to the relevant stakeholders for their inputs,” he advised them.

He, therefore, urged them to take advantage of the window of opportunity to make interventions and submit their memoranda to the relevant parliamentary sub-committee for consideration.

The minister noted that with the availability of alternative means of resolving differences, the staff needed not resort to a strike action as that should be the last resort after all avenues had been exhausted.

Open-door policy

Prof. Yankah said the ministry operated an open-door policy and urged the management and staff of the technical universities to freely consult either the sector minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the NCTE or him (Prof. Yankah) on any issue they were not clear about.

He stressed that it was not the time for technical universities to be engaging in strike actions, which had the potential of disrupting the smooth running of academic work.