GTEC freezes new applications of non complying institutions
The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) has put a freeze on accreditation for new programmes by universities that have not fully renewed already running programmes.
The commission has signalled that by next month, it will begin a serial publication of unaccredited programmes and centres in newspapers and on its website.
It has consequently cautioned the public to resist offers from institutions to study such unaccredited programmes.
The GTEC said it would submit the list of unaccredited programmes and centres to all government agencies so that they would not employ anybody who had a certificate of a programme that was not accredited.
The Deputy Director-General of GTEC, Professor Ahmed Abdulai Jinapor, who disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic, advised the public to always visit the commission’s website to be sure that they did not accept to pursue programmes that had not been accredited.
That, he said, formed part of major steps by the regulatory body to sanitise the accreditation environment to ensure that no university in the country ran unaccredited programmes.
For two years running, the Auditor General's Report has carried concerns that most of the public universities are running programmes that have not been accredited.
"We are going to put a moratorium on acceptance of new applications until all the accreditation environment is sanitised, and the caveat is that not all institutions are culpable," Prof. Jinapor said.
He said some of such universities had been invited for a discussion after GTEC met with its council to discuss the proposal to that effect.
"We believe that the general public will not be motivated to apply for such programmes, and that will serve as demotivation to the institutions running those programmes," he said.
"Also, we are close to getting a deal with the Ministry of Finance for GTEC to evaluate all applications that come to the public sector for employment in terms of their certificates," Prof. Jinapor added.
He said by law, the GTEC was mandated to evaluate the authenticity of all certificates issued in the country.
With current technology leading to the proliferation of fake certificates, the GTEC Deputy Director-General said his outfit was making a strong case for individuals who sought employment in the public sector, in particular, to provide evidence that their certificates were evaluated by GTEC.
"You will agree with me that there is a proliferation of fake certificates by virtue of computerisation and digitalisation; people are able to generate certificates.
"So, it is not just about checking the authenticity and validity of such certificates; it is also a means of telling the general public that this particular certificate, even though it emanated from a university, that certificate, by the training offered to that particular person, is not fit for purpose," he explained.
Reacting to complaints by managers of the universities that they were running such unaccredited programmes because GTEC unnecessarily delayed with the process, Prof. Jinapor dismissed those claims as unacceptable, adding that such an excuse could not be the basis for which unaccredited programmes were run.
“It is a straightforward thing; you are either accredited or not.
There is no middle ground,” he said, citing, for instance, that a driver could not be driving without a driving licence because the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority delayed in issuing the licence.
He said the challenge had been that “there has been a culture of non-adherence to accreditation.
There has been a systemic attitude of universities not adhering to accreditations because historically, universities have positioned themselves as independent and autonomous bodies.”
Prof. Jinapor expressed regret that even some professors did not understand the role of GTEC, which made them to question the authority of GTEC to accredit existing programmes.
“The problem is that these individuals do not even understand the nature and manner in which GTEC operates.
“GTEC serves as a vehicle, where accreditation is done through the peer review process, and so, if, for instance, the University of Ghana wants to run a medical programme, GTEC ensures that people with the expertise, who are not at the University of Ghana, are brought in from other universities locally or even outside to check to ensure that what you say you are doing, you are doing it well,” he explained.
He explained further that because of the perception held by the universities on the accreditation issue, the GTEC had to address the “legacy accreditation programmes” gradually.
He said the commission had been working seriously on the legacy accreditation programmes, explaining that in 2022 when the Auditor-General’s Report came out, over 300 unaccredited programmes were being run by the University of Ghana, but by the time of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament’s sitting in 2023, the university had only 36 unaccredited programmes, meaning within one year, “we have worked to bring the number down from the 300 to only 36, while the University of Cape Coast currently has a clean slate”.