Politicians have been asked to move away from undue interference in appointments and administrative processes of the public tertiary institutions.
Professor George K.T Oduro, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), said that was undermining the smooth functioning of public institutions of higher learning.
This had not been helpful to efforts at delivering on their core mandate.
He made reference to recent happenings at the University of Education Winneba (UEW), University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Cape Coast Polytechnic and warned that “extreme politicisation would not only destroy the country’s universities but the nation as a whole’.
Prof Oduro was giving his inaugural lecture on the theme: “Repositioning universities for national character development: does leadership and mindset education matter?” at the UCC.
He expressed worry about the situation where people aspiring for key positions in the universities often rushed to obtain party cards to identify themselves with the political party in power.
He advised against appointing people with extreme partisan and divisive orientation to positions of Vice Chancellor and Chairman of University Governing Councils.
The Pro Vice Chancellor invited the universities to show greater concern about the increasing political polarisation, permeating every facet of the society.
“In recent years, our country has been experiencing cases of political polarisation that is permeating every sector of the economy and gradually subduing national character.
Leadership power and authority is increasingly becoming a tool for categorising citizens of the nation and workers at the workplace.”
He reminded the universities that they had key role to play to salvage the situation – reverse the trend.
Institutions of higher learning should avoid using their faculties and lecture theatres to serve partisan ideological interests.
Successful nations in the world had invested in university education to develop national character which undoubtedly was the pivot around which sustained national development thrived.
Prof Oduro said through its primary functions of teaching, research and extension services, universities were expected to prepare students for leadership positions necessary for speeding up national growth.
“Universities will fail as a hub of knowledge generation and application if they fail to place national character at the core of what students learn at the lecture theatres.”
He underlined the need for them to introduce innovative and society-driven programmes to help find solutions to development challenges of the nation.
He suggested that ‘Leadership for national character’ should be introduced as a liberal course in the universities to build the leadership capacity of the nation regardless of one’s area of speciality.
Prof Oduro called for change in the mindset of the people and said the universities had vital part to play in that.
“The success of a nation depends on the mindset owned by its universities and the extent to which leadership power promote a national character. If the universities sow a decisive mindset, it will produce leaders will decisive tendencies.”
He asked that they accepted to go the extra mile to help students developed a mindset that imbibed strong sense of nationalism and patriotism.