General News of Wed, 12 Dec 20182

Guard against acts of academic freedom – TEWU urges Government

The National Leadership of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) of the Ghana Trade Union Congress, has appealed to government and its agencies, to strictly adhere to internal mechanisms in resolving conflicts at the tertiary level.

The Union was of the view that, it was important to build institutional capacities to handle internal issues rather than government exercising its influence in resolving those matters, which had resulted in unguarded altercation.

Mr Augustine Saakuur Karbo, TEWU General Secretary, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra said, when it comes to the tertiary level, the impact on academic freedom, was severe, because government’s involvement was 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,” he said.

Mr Karbo stated that, the recent crises at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) would not have seen the various worker unions kicking against government’s unilateral decisions aimed at resolving the issues, “if government had allowed the internal mechanism of the university to be activated at the initial stages to deal with the students’ disturbances, the altercation would had been avoided”.

He said the Union was elated that government rescinded its decision and allowed the internal grievance resolution mechanism to address the KNUST crisis, which paved the way for lectures and other academic activities to resume work.

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“The national leadership of TEWU wishes to commend the hardworking staff of KNUST, especially the Local TEWU, all TEWU members in tertiary institutions, and other agencies in the sector for their solidarity displayed during those trying moments when government actions were stampeding the KNUST governance structure,” he said.

He stated that the goal of the various workers union during the KNUST crisis was to ensure that internal conflict resolution mechanisms are 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,” he added.

The Union commended Otumfuor Osei Tutu II, the Chancellor of KNUST, and the Asantehene, for “using his influence, experience, and expertise to get the university structures back on track to ensure that all stakeholders in the university family contribute their quota for good reason, harmony and industrial peace.”

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Mr Karbo called on the students and authorities at all level 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.

“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 will ensure that we do not disrupt academic work, because it tends to put pressure on all facets of life at the institutions when normalcy is restored,” he said.

He said the Universities statues are robust to take care of any differences among stakeholders in the University community, and that, there should be no room for political influence that would instruct the academic or learning activities at the institutions.

“Government should always allow the rules and regulations, which govern institutions, especially, tertiary institutions to work, because any attempt to stampede the process will be fiercely resisted as demonstrated recently in the KNUST crisis, where government had to backtrack and allow the structures to be activated to deal with the issues,” he said.

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