The troubles of the University of Education, Winneba, appear far from being over, as the Minister of Education, is being accused fomenting another bout by interfering in the day-to-day management of the school, instead of focusing on resolving the impasse between the government and the striking University Teacher Association of Ghana (UTAG).
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, The Herald, has picked up is frustrating the smooth running of the university by urging the Council Chairman, Nana Ofori Ansah, to overturn certain administrative decisions taken by the University’s Governing Council, as well as the management of the school.
The Minister is mentioned to have insisted on keeping one Francis Obeng, at post as Finance Director of the University, despite some thorny issues hanging on his neck which operatives of National Security are said to be investigating.
Mr. Obeng, is on record as a worker of the Finance Department of the University of Cape Coast. He also has a court injunction warning him to stay away from the office of the Director of Finance of UEW.
But this is not the first time that the Minister of Education is being accused of interfering in the affairs of an institution under him.
Recently, former Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Charles Aheto-Tsegah, mentioned him as trying to take over the day-to-day running of the current Director-General, hence some confusion in the academic calendar of public schools; whether the semester system or the trimester system.
At UEW, the inside story is that, the Minister is trying to scuttle the seeming peaceful environment that has returned to the campus by creating a parallel administrative structure and ordering the UEW Council chairman to issue instructions countering that of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mawutor Avoke, who was recently reinstated together with others by a court of law.
The Herald learnt both that, Prof. Avoke and UEW Governing Council Chairman, have been at pains working to streamline certain administrative bottlenecks in the school per the court order, however, there is a group of officers in the school led by the Registrar, one Osei Barimah, who rushes to the Minister of Education to frustrate these efforts.
Same powerful group, had gone shopping for a Vice-Chancellor after the exit of Prof. Andy Ofori Birikorang, as acting Vice-Chancellor.
The group is also busy planting stories in the media painting a stormy environment at UEW. Indeed, The Herald learnt of how they have used partisan politics and ethnicity to divide the council.
Interestingly, some of them, have insisted on being members of the Jehovah Witness Church, hence don’t indulge in politics and don’t also vote.
Recently, the group under the claim of being members of theNew Patriotic Party (NPP) stormed the offices of the Education Minister to prevail upon the Council Chairman, Nana OforiAnsah for the University’s Governing Council to withdraw all letters written to reinstate former principal officers of the University.
Reports emerged last week that, the Council Chairman, had also been asked to withdraw letters that he wrote to remove the current Finance Director of the University, Francis Obeng. However, The Herald’s information is that not only was the story planted in the media, but that the Education Minister had a hand in the matter by working on the influence of the OseiBarimah group.
He had placed a telephone call, ordering that Francis Obeng, be kept at post as Finance Director, despite the court directives.
MrObeng, who was appointed by the Governing Council in 2019, was handed a letter signed by Prof. MawutorAvoke, asking him to cease functioning as the Finance Director of the University.
This was to make way for DrTheophilusAkorlie, a former Finance Director, who was driven out by the administration of Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni.
Prof. Avoke’s letter was to notify DrAkorlie to occupy his previous position as the Finance Director. The court had directed his reinstatement, while the Governing Council had also written to Prof. Avoke to empower him to make some administrative appointments if necessary.
The Herald is informed that while certain key administrators have been kept at post, other positions, especially that of the Finance Director of the University, had to be changed, with the reinstatement of DrAkorlie, per the court order, and this appears to have bruised the wounds of the Registrar, OseiBarimah and his renegade lieutenants preying on DrAdutwum’s ethnicity and NPP politics, insisting that Prof. Avoke and Dr. Akorlie, were Ewes from Volta Region, thus NDC members.
But The Herald has picked up reports that Francis Obeng, also though substantive Finance Director of UEW, is also on record as the Deputy Director of the Finance at UCC.
He had applied for a Leave of Absence some two years ago, to take up the current job at UEW during the tenure of Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni. There are reports that the interview panel did not recommend him for the position.
Francis Obeng, was expected to resign from the UCC job, but only took Leave of Absence, and has been renewing same every year.
The report is that his two-year Leave of Absence expired in August, last year and got renewed. Same was renewed in January, this year obviously unsure of how long he could be kept on the UEW job based on a court case and an injunction filed by DrAkorlie, against Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni’s administrative infractions.
What is worse about Francis Obeng is that the current Governing Council of the UEW is unable to ascertain whether he informed the previous council about his Leave of Absence or he just lied that he resigned from UCC.
The Herald is also picking up reports that, one Prof. Mohammed Salifu of the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, has been speaking to some officials about the Education Minister’s incursion into administrative matters of UEW, but he is unable to straighten him up.
It is, however, thought, Prof. Salifu, whose tenure has expired, is seeking an extension and needs the Minister to grant him that privilege hence, unable to call him to order.
Meanwhile, another case of interference against the Minister has seen the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) up in arms with the Ministry of Education over its latest interference in matters that should ordinarily be handled by the GES.
President of NAGRAT Mr. Angel Kabonu wonders why the Ministry must advertise for consideration of positions for headmasters and the like when that falls within the mandate of the GES.
“There are a lot of issues in the educational sector that must be addressed but we are all pretending as though there are no issues. One of them is the decision by the Ministry of Education to appoint headmasters and headmistresses and they are starting with STEM schools but the Ministry has no power to appoint headmasters or headmistresses.”
He said, “It is the function of the Ghana Education Service (GES), the GES has that power to appoint headmasters and headmistresses, not the Ministry of Education.” He further called on the Ministry of Education to withdraw the advertisement inviting applicants to apply for the position of headmaster or headmistress.
“So, the advertisement brought by the Ministry inviting applicants to apply to be headmasters and headmistress in STEM schools should be withdrawer by the Ministry immediately,” Mr. Carbonou said but the Ministry of Education is yet to respond to a two-week ultimatum by NAGRAT for the withdrawal of the advertisement and allow the GES which has the sole prerogative to take charge.