A staff audit of the technical universities conducted by the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) has exposed anomalies in the teaching and administrative procedures in the institutions.
The audit was carried out with the objective of facilitating the effective migration of staff of the universities onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).
The report, dated December 21, 2018, a copy of which is available to the Daily Graphic, revealed, for instance, that most lecturers, especially those in the schools of Business, had been teaching without relevant background, with some holding Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees acquired through online, which is against the regulations of the NCTE.
“Some lecturers have either Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) from the Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica or doctorate in Finance from the Swiss Management Centre (SMC) University and the University of Central Nicaragua. These are non-research doctorates and are not acceptable for teaching.
“Some lecturers also have PhDs awarded by the University of Central Nicaragua on the basis of the DBA awarded by the SMC. This arrangement for the award of PhDs is not acceptable and such qualifications should not be accepted for teaching as well,” the report stated.
It further indicated that some lecturers were teaching with mismatched first, second and terminal degrees, referred to as “skirt and blouse”, a practice the NCTE found unacceptable.
It made it clear that lecturers with master’s degrees and PhDs acquired online should not be recognised and that affected lecturers should go back to school to acquire relevant degrees before they would be migrated onto the SSSS.
The report further stated that only lecturers with relevant background should teach courses in their areas of specialisation.
Education Minister’s word
A strongly worded transmission letter accompanying the report, signed by the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, stressed that only lecturers with researched master’s and terminal degrees from recognised universities, both local and abroad, would be migrated onto the Traditional University Salary Scale.
The unqualified lecturers have, however, been given up to between two and three years to upgrade themselves before they could be migrated onto the university salary scale.
Also contained in the audit report are discrepancies in administrative procedures.
For instance, it said senior members of the professional class (accountants, auditors, works and physical development ) were, by the old polytechnic and current technical universities statutes, required to be appointed with master’s degrees and membership of relevant professional association.
However, the audit revealed that many officers did not qualify under the laws.
“There are several staff of the senior member cadres of the Finance, Audit and Procurement departments/units who do not have the professional qualifications, in addition to the required master’s degrees and, therefore, do not qualify to encumber their professional positions,” it said.
Besides, the report said, most of the directors of works and development at the technical universities, in addition to their professional qualification, only held first degrees in their respective fields and would be required to acquire master’s degrees.
On the use of Executive Master’s degrees, the audit report said they were designed for officers who were already in executive positions but needed advanced degrees to formalise their positions.
“It is, therefore, not a degree that should be considered for the appointment of persons with no work experience who are seeking fresh employment. Some of the administrative staff (senior member category) have Executive Master’s degrees which are meant for staff in top management positions and not for those at the starting points in their career,” it said.
On the issue of promotions, the audit indicated that by the provisions of the then polytechnic scheme of service, all senior members (academic and administrative/professionals) were expected to be promoted based on at least positive assessment reports by qualified external assessors.
However, it said “councils of the technical universities bend over backwards to promote candidates, even when the candidates do not appear to satisfy their own set of minimum criteria for such promotions”.
When contacted, the Registrar of the Tamale Technical University (TaTU), Alhaji Yakubu Iddrisu, told the Daily Graphic that after the exercise, the NCTE gave the university a copy of the report.
He said query letters had been issued to those who were cited by the report and they had since responded with the necessary documentation which had been submitted to the NCTE.
A cross-section of students of TaTU who spoke with the Daily Graphic called for the full implementation of the audit report to sanitise the system to improve the quality of teaching in the school.
They expressed the belief that recommendations in the report, if implemented firmly, would stop the practice where appointments and allocation of courses were based on nepotism and not qualification.
Some lecturers of the university who spoke on condition of anonymity called for an implementation committee or taskforce from the Ministry of Education and the NCTE to ensure strict compliance with the recommendations in the report.
There is already in force conditions of service that apply in the public universities.
The delay on the part of the Ministry of Education and the NCTE to migrate the Technical Universities Teachers Association of Ghana (TUTAG) onto the university salary scale resulted in an indefinite sit-down strike by TUTAG in September 2018.
In an effort to resolve that impasse, a staff audit was to be conducted on TUTAG members to rationalise their qualifications to those of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) as a requirement for migration.
That necessitated the audit by the NCTE.