Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, has opined that BBC Africa Eye’s documentary on sexual harassment in West African Universities will create a bad image of the affected universities to foreign students who wish to pursue higher education there, ABC News can report.
According to Prof. Yankah, although the documentary has sparked a healthy conversation about the need to fight issues of sexual harassment in Tertiary Institutions, the journalistic piece will tarnish the already ‘bad’ image of the institutions to the rest of the world.
“UG, is clearly one of the best in West Africa. Just imagine that on the basis of this documentary alone, you have our top universities virtually decapitated, it will be very bad news but it doesn’t mean we should ignore the fall out of this, we should be constantly reminded that these are some of the criteria that international students who would have liked to come to Legon or UniLag would normally use in determining whether or not to consider enrolling here. It doesn’t make our already bad image out there any better” he stated.
The ‘Sex for grades’ documentary, which saw two University of Ghana lecturers, Professor Ransford Gyampo and Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor implicated for gross misconduct, has been widely criticized for its failure to draw a linkage between sexual harassment and demanding sex in exchange for academic favors.
Prof. Gyampo, one of the two lecturers interdicted by the university following the release of the documentary, has continuously hammered that the documentary is ‘misleading’ since he did not demand sex from the ‘student’ for grades.
The piece, produced by BBC Africa Eye investigative Journalist, Kiki Mordi, has rekindled a conversation on sexual harassment, not only in academic institutions but in places of work and in personal interactions in the country.
ABC News can report that Prof. Yankah noted that the government will compel all universities to ensure the effective implementation of their anti-sexual harassment policy.
This, according to him, will ensure that issues of sexual harassment in these institutions are completely nipped in the bud.
“We now have a tertiary education policy document which for the first time we’re having in several years now and there’s a whole section on sexual harassment compelling every university, public and private, so long as they’re being considered accreditation, to have such a policy. Not just have such a policy but to operationalize such a policy. And this has been used as one of the criteria to be considered by the regulatory body in determining whether to reaccredit a University so we are going to effectively ensure the effective implementation of the policy along with all the penalties and sanctions that are available to be applied when there are any fractions” he stated.