Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion ably moved by the Minister for Education and in so doing I wish to present the Report of your Committee.
Environmental studies and agro- business are emerging as fundamental to the development of every nation, including Ghana. While a few public universities currently offer some related courses in this field, there is no public university dedicated solely to research and dissemination of knowledge in the field of environment and agro-business.
It is to address this gap that the Government proposed to establish the University of Environment and Sus- tainable Development.
Accordingly, the University of Environment and Sustainable Develop- ment Bill, 2014 was presented to Parliament and read the first time on Friday,12th December, 2014. Pursuant to article 106 (4) and (5) of the Constitution and Order 186 of the Standing Orders of the House. Mr Speaker referred the Bill to the Committee on Education for consideration and report.
The Committee held meetings with stakeholders to examine the Bill in detail. The Committee is grateful to the following for their inputs during the consideration of the Bill:
a. Hon Minister for Education, Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang and officials from the Ministry;
b. The National Accreditation Board (NAB);
c. National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE);
d. The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG);
e. Ghana Association of University Administrators (GAUA);
f. Federation of University Senior Staff Association of Ghana
g. Vice Chancellor, University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS); and
h. Officials from the Attorney- General's Department.
The Committee made reference to the following documents during its delibera- tions:
a. The 1992 Constitution;
b. The Standing Orders of Parliament;
c. The University of Ghana Act, 2010 (Act 806);
d. The University of Health and Allied Sciences Act, 2011 (Act
e. The University of Energy and Natural Resources Act, 2011, (Act 830).
Object of the Bill
The Bill seeks to establish the University of Environment and Sustain- able Development to provide higher education and promote research and dissemination of knowledge in the fields
of environment, agro-business and sustainable development.
Content of the Bill
The Bill is made up of 40 clauses and divided into four main parts as follows:
Part One: The University (clauses 1-4)
Part Two: Administration (clauses 5-30)
Part Three: Financial matters (clauses 31-35)
Part Four: Miscellaneous matters (clauses 36-40)
The Committee is of the view that the establishment of the University of Environment and Sustainable Develop- ment is a step in the right direction, given that issues relating to the environment have become of great concern to governments the world over; therefore, the establishment of this university will go a long way to promote higher education, research and initiatives that will help address the environmental challenges confronting our nation.
The Committee acknowledges that the availability of personnel with skills and knowledge in environment and related fields is pivotal to developing effective strategies to protect and sustain the environment. The Committee therefore, finds the proposed establishment of a University dedicated to the environment and related fields, an important initiative.
However, given the experience of long- established public universities, most of which have lost focus of their core mandate and introduced unrelated programmes, the Committee underscored the need to ensure that the University of Environment and Sustainable Develop- ment, when established, concentrates on its core mandate, which are environment, agro-business and sustainable develop- ment.
The Committee observed that the establishment of the University of Environment and Sustainable Develop- ment in the Eastern Region was appro- priate because it would bring access to public university education closer to the people of the region and its environs.
Members were also of the view that the siting of acampus of the university at Donkorkrom would undoubtedly help to open up the Afram Plains for research and exploration into the vast agricultural potentials of the area.
The Committee noted that one of the main challenges confronting public universities in Ghana relates to how to mobilise adequate funds to effectively run their various programmes. The Committee is of the view that public universities, especially the newly established ones, should be adequately empowered to mobilise the needed resources through various initiatives to compliment GOG funding.
Clause 2 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (1), delete the second occurrence of paragraph (a).
Amendment proposed -- subclause (1), delete the second occurrence paragraph (b).
Clause 2 -- Amendment proposed -- Subclause (2), delete paragraphs (a) -- (e), and insert the following:
(a) Schools, Faculties, Institutes and Centres relating to environment, agro-business and sustainable development.
(b) any other related programmes as may be determined by the Council”.
Clause 3 -- Amendment proposed -- delete and insert the following:
“The University shall be established at Somanya with campuses in Donkorkrom and any other place as the Council may determine”.
Clause 7 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (1), line 3, delete “of the Council” and insert same after “non- members”
Clause 10 -- Amendment proposed -- Add the following new subclauses after subclause (2):
(3) “The Council may nullify a decision taken in which the interested member participated to the extent necessary”.
(4) “The Council shall enact Statutes for the effective imple- mentation of this section”.
Clause 19 -- Amendment proposed -- Delete paragraph (e) and insert same before paragraph (c).
Clauses 19 -- Amendment proposed -- Clause 19 to be and clause 20 renumbered as 20 and vice versa.
Clause 22 -- Amendment proposed -- Subclause (2), line 1, after “Finance” insert “is responsible for financial resource mobilisation and”.
Clause 24 -- Amendment proposed -- Subclause (1), paragraph (a), lines 5-6 delete “in the Eastern Region and other campuses of the University elsewhere in the country” and insert “as the Council may determine”.
Clause 31 -- Amendment proposed -- Subclause (3), line 3, delete “from” and insert “form”.
Clause 37-- Amendment proposed -- Renumber as clause 29.
Clause 40 -- Amendment proposed -- Subclause (5), line 2, before “Universities”, insert “public”.
Clause 40: -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (5), line 2, delete “two” and insert “three”.
The Committee believes that the establishment of the University of Environment and Sustainable Develop- ment will enable the country prioritise the study and research in environment and related fields to address environmental challenges and promote socioeconomic development.
Against this background, it is recommended that the House adopts the Report of the Select Committee on Education in respect of the University of Environment and Sustainable Develop- ment Bill, 2014.