Dr Peter Party-Anti, Executive Director, Institute for Education Studies, Kofi Asare, Executive Director, Africa Education Watch
Dr Peter Party-Anti, Executive Director, Institute for Education Studies, Kofi Asare, Executive Director, Africa Education Watch

Ban on satellite campuses: Education think tanks worried

Two education think tanks have expressed concern over the decision of the Ghana Technical Education Commission (GTEC) to stop universities from operating in senior high schools (SHSs) and other unapproved premises because it is affecting enrolment in the technical universities.


Although they agreed with the commission that operating in unapproved premises was wrong, they could not understand the linkage with low enrolment in technical universities as claimed by the commission.

They described such claims as inappropriate and problematic. Rather, they said, the traditional universities should be encouraged to establish many approved satellite campuses to enable more people access to tertiary education.

The think tanks who expressed their concerns in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic are the Institute for Education Studies (IFEST)-Ghana and the Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch).


The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) has directed universities to cease operating satellite campuses in senior high schools (SHSs) and on unapproved premises. The Director-General of GTEC, Professor Ahmed Abdulai Jinapor, said the proliferation of satellite campuses of most universities with charters was negatively affecting the growth and development of technical universities.

“It is of no surprise that in a school like Bolgatanga Senior High School, there can be about five different traditional universities running distance education programmes for students,” he said at the 12th Congregation of the Bolgatanga Technical University (BTU) last weekend.


However, the Executive Director for IFEST-Ghana, Dr Peter Partey-Anti, said if the focus was to enable the traditional universities to get places that were more decent for students to attend lectures then “it’s a good call. But if the focus is on trying to reduce the number of satellite campuses, then I think that is problematic”.

“It is problematic because the reason why most of the traditional universities have chosen this option is because they are not able to admit the number of people who want to access education on their campuses,” he said.

The Executive Director of IFEST said he did not see the correlation between the operations of the satellite campuses and admission in the technical universities.  

“I don’t see where the linkage is because the technical universities are supposed to run certain programmes that are not in the domain of the traditional universities.  “So if he is linking the low enrolment at the technical universities to the running of satellite campuses then that is problematic and he may have to further explain.

 If he is, however, saying that the campuses where these satellite campuses are situated are not conducive for teaching at the tertiary level, then I think he may have a point,” he said.

Mr Asare of Eduwatch said if the commission had a reasonable suspicion that an institution was using a makeshift structure instead of a venue as recommended in the accreditation process, then it had the right to order it to stick to the terms of accreditation which stipulated that it must have a place that was conducive for training.

“So within that context, I don't find this comment to be much of an issue than enforcing regulatory compliance, to accreditation standards in the operation of satellite campuses and all that.

But I find it difficult to appreciate the link between traditional universities operating satellite campuses and the ability of technical universities to get more students,” he said. To begin with, he said technical universities were established to focus mainly on technical vocational education and training (TVET) at the tertiary level, adding that as of now, only about 40 per cent of technical university students were studying TVET, while 60 per cent were into the humanities.

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