Students at the University of Ghana (UG) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) have been promised by the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) that their interests will be protected in the ongoing saga of unaccredited programs.
The guarantee comes in the wake of the 2021 Auditor-publication, General’s Report’s which revealed that more than 600 programs offered by the two top institutions lacked accreditation.
Only 61 of the 360 programs provided by the KNUST were accredited, the report claims, while 374 UG programs were not accredited.
This has raised questions regarding the legitimacy of the diplomas that the two colleges have provided to students who take part in such programs.
Every letter of approval for accreditation, he continued, made it clear that the institution “must start the process for re-accreditation one year before the current accreditation expires.”
The responsibility to start the procedure rests with the institution, he continued, who must fill out the relevant self-assessment form that is readily available on the GTEC website.
The director-general expressed regret that despite the aforementioned provisions, many of the programs mentioned in the Auditor-Report General’s had their accreditation from the former National Accreditation Board expire as early as 2013 without any action being taken by the universities in compliance with the accreditation requirements and the law.
Claims that the issue was caused by the bureaucracy at GTEC or the assessment process’s slowness, according to Prof. Salifu, were misinformed diversionary tactics used to transfer responsibility.
In his opinion, the issue at hand would not have existed if “both colleges had simply followed the regulations and the law.”
“The GTEC accepts responsibility for its procedures and works to continually improve them, even though occasionally there may be one or two isolated hiccups, as there occasionally are in every human institution.
But he said that running a program without accreditation since 2013—whether it was lost or never obtained—could not be fairly attributed to inaction or bureaucracy by a young institution.
He emphasized to university administrators the harsh penalties set forth in the new Education Regulatory Bodies Act 2020 (Act 1023), which include heavy fines, prison time, or both, for “promoting; causing to be marketed and/or conducting an institution or program without a legitimate accreditation.”
“For the time being, our top priority is proactively working with the universities to improve the current situation, but the universities need to be made aware that some sanctions will need to be implemented after the resolution because they were informed during engagements with GTEC, long before the release of the Auditor-report. General’s
We want to reassure the students that their interests would be at the center of the resolution of the situation and shall be protected, but the Director-General of the GTEC, Professor Mohammed Salifu, has allayed such concerns.
Prof. Salifu told Graphic Online’s Severious Kale-Dery, “We are well aware that the students are the likely innocent and unfortunate victims, and the commission will make sure that their interests are protected.”
The problems, according to Prof. Salifu, were “legacy difficulties” that existed before GTEC was founded. He also noted that the commission had been collaborating with the universities for a prompt resolution even before the publication of the Auditor-Report. General’s
“As a result, many of the programs that were identified in the report as lacking active accreditation have either been fully reaccredited at this time or are in advanced stages of consideration by GTEC.
In fact, he continued, “some are required to be approved by the following board meeting on September 15, 2022.
Regime of accreditation
Every program offered by a university was for a duration of three years at the time of initial accreditation and then for a five-year period for re-accreditation, according to Prof. Salifu.
He noted that all programs were required to undergo reaccreditation every five years.
He clarified that the goal of re-accreditation was to make sure that the programs continued to be appropriate for their intended use and were being delivered in accordance with the necessary standards and quality.
The steps done as part of the process for resolving this issue must be sufficiently deterrent, he said, to prevent any further occurrences.
He suggested that at a meeting last Friday between the council chairpersons and vice chancellors of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), KNUST, and UG, on the one hand, and the GTEC, on the other, both parties decided to move quickly on the previously agreed plan for a speedy resolution. The meeting was called at the request of the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum.
Before enrolling in any program, Prof. Salifu recommended parents and prospective students to always visit the GTEC website to confirm that it is accredited.
To help them make decisions, he continued, they should develop the habit of keeping an eye out for the list of GTEC recognized institutions that is occasionally published in the media.