President Akufo-Addo has assured that the Public Universities Bill, when laid before and passed by Parliament, will not stifle or undermine academic freedom.
According to him, consultations on the Public Universities Bill have been completed, and, once passed, the Bill will, amongst others, bring all the public universities under a common law, and, thereby, make the administration of the public universities less cumbersome and more efficient.
“The flimsy allegations being perpetrated that the Bill will undermine academic freedom are deliberate mischief-making and disingenuous.
“My Government and I are firm subscribers, as the Bill amply demonstrates, to the cardinal importance of the principle of academic freedom in the development of all institutions of learning worth their salt,” he added.
The President made this known on when he delivered a speech at the 11th Congregation Ceremony of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).
The theme of the congregation, “Celebrating Professional and Scholarly Excellence for Accelerated Nation Building”, President Akufo-Addo indicated, reinforces the commitment of his government to ensuring that all of Ghana’s youth gain access not only to senior high school education, but also to tertiary education.
This, he explained, is a path “that represents the surest ways of equipping the citizenry with the requisite skills for national development.”
He added that “government is not sparing any efforts to make education in Ghana of the best quality, and fit for the needs of the 21st century.”
With the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, Ghana is one of the countries in the world where public education is now free from basic school to senior high school.
“From September this year, all students in our public senior high schools will be covered by the Free SHS policy. We are making sure that poverty is no longer an excuse for any Ghanaian child not to reach their full potential, and I am happy that it is under my time as President of the Republic that this feat has been chalked,” he added.
With a new standards-based curriculum set to be rolled out from kindergarten to Class 6 in primary schools, the President indicated that new curriculum will focus on making Ghanaian children confident, innovative, digitally-literate, well-rounded, patriotic citizens.
Additionally, President Akufo-Addo stressed that all is set for the construction of 21 state-of-the-art Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Centres, and, in this year, also, ten Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centres are being built around the country to provide support for the introduction of STEM into basic schools.
With adequate funding of tertiary education being one of the challenges of successive governments, he stated that “as part of efforts to deal with the problem of funding higher education, government has committed itself to the establishment of a research fund for the sole purpose of funding relevant and sector-specific research work in our institutions of higher learning. This is in addition to the Book and Research Allowance.”
Government, the President added, will continue to support collaborative programmes between tertiary institutions and industry to increase opportunities for practical training and internship.
“We shall promote curriculum development to meet the skills and human resource demands of industry, create opportunities for work and study, and make training in entrepreneurship a cardinal component of the school system,” President Akufo-Addo said.