11 December 2018

Ghana: Guard Against Acts That Undermine Academic Freedom At Tertiary Institutions - TEWU Tells Govt

The National Leadership of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union, TEWU of TUC (Ghana), has appealed to the government and its agencies, to strictly adhere to internal mechanisms in resolving conflicts and other differences at the work place.

"It is important to build institutional capacities to handle internal issues other than the government always wanting to exert its influence in resolving those matters," it said in a statement issued in Accra yesterday.

Mr Augustine Saakuur Karbo, General Secretary, TEWU who signed the statement said "When it comes to the tertiary level, the impact on Academic Freedom, is severe, because government's involvement is seen as an attempt to stampede the governance structure in the academic system."

"Recent happenings in some educational institutions in the country demand that Ghanaians stand up and say No to politicians' invasion in academic institutions, which is a threat to academic freedom," the statement said.

"We must state that the recent crises at KNUST will not have seen the various worker unions kicking against government's unilateral decisions aimed at resolving the issues, if the government had allowed the internal mechanism of the university to be activated at the initial stages to deal with the students' disturbances," the statement said.

TEWU said it was glad that the government at the long run, made a U-Turn to allow the internal grievance resolution mechanism to be used to address the KNUST crisis.

This obviously paved the way for lectures and other academic activities to resume at KNUST.

The statement said it was worthy to note that the common goal of the various workers union during the KNUST crisis was to ensure that internal conflict resolution mechanisms were respected.

"The TEWU Local Executives and the rank and file, were supporting a genuine process not to allow anyone to stampede the university system, and impose or invade the internal resolution mechanism for solutions that do not correspond to the general rules and regulations of the university," the statement said.

TEWU commended the Chancellor of KNUST, Otumfuor, Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, for using his influence, experience, and expertise to get the university structures back on track.

"TEWU will like at this point to call on students and authorities at all levels of education to work in unity and always resort to proactive preventive mechanisms, so that any good intention of students to demonstrate peacefully against well-intended management decisions do not turn violent," the statement.

The statement said tolerance, comportment, healthy debate and respect for institutions' regulations are key factors that must be displayed at all times by stakeholders at any level of our educational system.

This according to the statement would ensure academic work was not disrupted.

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