The Ministry of Education has rejected claims that it is obstructing the swearing-in of a representative of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) branch of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) onto the University’s Governing Council.
This follows an ultimatum given to government by some TEWU members to accept their choice and allow the appointed person, Mr. Charles Arthur, to represent the association on the Governing Council by the next University’s Council meeting.
They had earlier accused the Ministry of Education of stampeding processes to have their representative on the Council.
But speaking to Citi News, the Public Relations officer of the Education Ministry, Vincent Ekow Assafuah said TEWU’s choice could not be approved based on advice from the Council of State indicating that Mr. Arthur has an impending suit in court challenging his eligibility.
“If you look at the last paragraph of the Council of State letter that they wrote, through the Office of the President, it states that the Council is unable to endorse the nomination of Mr. Charles Arthur, the TEWU representative nominated to serve on the KNUST Council. This is because the Council is aware of the communication dated 13th November, 2019 where the Council of State was referring to the Vice-Chancellor’s letter indicating to the Ministry of Education that there is a suit in court and for that matter, government or the Council of State cannot approve of it. So, it comes to us as a surprise for anybody to mention that government is the one impeding the inauguration of Mr. Charles Arthur of being on the KNUST Council,” he said.
“Also the Office of the President wrote a letter to the Ministry of Education on the 25th of November, 2019 which sort to communicate the information from the Council of State to the Ministry that the name that the Ministry submitted cannot be approved,” he added.
Universities Local Union threaten strike
A Committee of Universities Local Union Executives had threatened to embark on a series of industrial actions if government fails to swear-in a representative of TEWU onto KNUST’s Governing Council.
Acting Chairman of the Committee of Universities Local Union Executives, Naa Gumah Zakaria says TEWU’s choice of a representative onto the Governing Council cannot be reversed.
“In our letter, it is stated clearly that we expect that at the next council meeting our representative will have flown into office and that will close the matter. It is going to be one week from now. These are some of the things we wouldn’t want to be saying on air. But of course, there is an itinerary ready till our needs are met because you will remember that somewhere on the 20th, a similar meeting was held and we were asked to do that format and that has been done today. Of course, we expect that by tomorrow an action should be taken on our request and then within a week or two, we need to have the results,” he said.
Following a demonstration by students of KNUST on 22nd October 2018 that led to the destruction of some properties, the government dissolved the previous council and re-constituted an interim one to work towards addressing the impasse between the students and the university management.
However, the student leadership called for the immediate restoration of the school’s governing council which was dissolved by the government.
They said the government erred in arbitrarily dissolving the former council and establishing a new one to manage the day-to-day activities of the school.
The name of TEWU’s representative, Mr Charles Arthur, was subsequently removed from the list of newly constituted council members.
TEWU rejected the council entirely, insisting that its representative must be allowed on the Council.
This led to the government in November 2019 postponing the swearing-in ceremony of the new governing council.
The aggrieved group accused the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, of being the masterminded of the removal of their representative on the Council; a claim the Ministry rejected.
According to TEWU, they nominated Mr Arthur and communicated their decision in a letter dated September 5, 2019 but for some reasons unknown, he was not included on the Council.