Section 44 angers academics

Almost 300 academics have cried foul over a recent Section 44 order allowing outsiders to be executives at state universities, saying the move is an attempt to interfere in university affairs.

Nine professors and 260 university lecturers and independent academics signed their names to a statement protesting against the order, which was released yesterday.

The order invoked by the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is tantamount to using power under the military government to interfere in university affairs, as regulations on university management are already in place, the statement read.

“Allowing the appointment of individuals unattached to higher education institutions to serve in posts which are instrumental to university management has raised suspicions that they will be used as political tools,” the statement read.

It further said the order is part of continued attempts by the coup-installed government to interfere with the independence of the country’s universities, after some university executives were brought to sit in the National Legislative Assembly.

In order to ensure non-interference, the regime should revoke the order and the coup-installed government must avoid interfering with university affairs.

The NCPO order, published on Tuesday, authorises universities to appoint people who are not university civil servants or university personnel to serve as university rectors, deputy rectors, assistant rectors, deans, or head up university agencies which are equivalent to faculties.

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