Mathew Opoku-Prempeh, Education Minister, is expected show up in Parliament on Thursday to respond to an urgent question on the closure of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) and its satellite campuses across the country.
Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, ranking member on the Education Committee of Parliament, who filed the urgent question said the closure of the University is in bad taste and wants an explanation given to the lawmakers. Mr Nortsu-Kotoe wants to know what necessitated the closure and what is being done to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
He said, “The closure was unfortunate and I think there could have been a better way of going about the issue,”. According to him, the Education Minister is in charge of all matters regarding education in the country, he is the best person to explain why the development got to such a crescendo.
The University was sued for allowing the Governing Council to operate after its mandate had elapsed. According to a court order filed by one Mr. Supi Kofi Kwayera at the High Court, Winneba on May 23, 2017, the continuation of members of the Governing Council in office is a direct breach of Section 8 Act 672.
The University is the 1st Respondent and the Ministry of Education the 2nd Respondent. The writ indicated that in November 2009, a Governing Council of the 1st Respondent was constituted. The said Council was to carry out its functions until its mandate lapsed after two years.
It noted that after the end of the two years, the tenure of the Governing Council was further renewed for two years certain thus its mandate expired in November 2013. Following the writ, the University closed down its campuses across the country on Tuesday following an order by the Winneba High Court restraining members of its governing council and some principle officers from holding themselves as such.
A press release from the University on Wednesday clarified an earlier statement issued Tuesday regarding the closure, which according to the University was ordered by the court. “The decision was taken to avoid any confrontation since the counsel for the plaintiff indicated that he has people on the ground to monitor the verbal directive given in court,” part of the statement said.
But the lawyer who doubles as a legislator said the closure of the University is as a result of the Vice Chancellor, Acquah Mensah and others who want to shut it down and nothing to do with the orders of the court.
“The matter will be taken up when we go to the court on Friday because that is very disrespectful to the court. He mentioned, that if you are a party to a litigation and you decide to litigate outside the court to seek public sympathy, act with impunity and subject the court to ridicule, it has to be brought to the attention of the court,”.