Beginning next year, the National Accreditation Board has said it intends to “aggressively” weed out fake school qualifications in the system, in collaboration with various educational institutions.
Speaking to delegates at the 2nd Annual General Meeting of the African Qualifications Verification Network in Accra, Executive Secretary of the board, Dr. Kingsley Nyarko, said: “We are intensifying our efforts in making sure that all unqualified persons are flashed out of the system.”
He said: “We need to protect the integrity of qualifications, of degrees and diplomas because, in this day and age, it is very easy for some unscrupulous persons to fake the certificates of certain institutions.”
He added that: “We will verify all certificates of persons who are teaching in our institutions. This is very, very important. If you have an unqualified person teaching our students the end result is obvious. If you don’t have quality you cannot deliver quality, so we are going to pursue this aggressively.”
Dr Nyarko cited the proliferation of unaccredited institutions as one of the challenges the National Accreditation Board faces. “These institutions purporting to be running tertiary education programmes end up deceiving the unsuspecting public and must be flashed out.”
Another challenge the board faces, he said, regards delays in receiving responses to request for verification. Also, some institutions, he said, accept foreign certificates for admissions and employment without recourse to the National Accreditation Board.
“In most of the cases, when institutions are doubtful of somebody’s certificate, whether a prospective employee or an employee, they send the certificate to us and we have to verify those certificates. We do so by collaborating with institutions where that particular individual had the degrees.
In most cases, we have seen that there are delays, at times, especially from the francophone countries and some other institutions. The question is: how do we hasten the process? How do we reduce the delays? How do we ensure efficiency? Some people apply and about six months to one year we are still awaiting the feedback regarding the genuineness of their certificate. This shouldn’t be. Timeliness is very important; so, we will like to ensure that they identify these weaknesses and solve it to produce or to promote efficiency and effectiveness in operations, thereby guaranteeing the quality in our institutions.”
He further explained that, “In order to build public trust and ensure objective and fair understanding of qualifications for purposes of admission, job placement, promotion, among others, systems are put in place at the national level to verify and establish equivalence of qualifications.”
He spoke about the development of a national qualifications framework which will provide the parameters within which to comprehensively determine the equivalences of certificates and what it takes to earn a certain qualification.
“Qualifications are the medium of exchange on the labour market. One of the pillars of academic mobility is the development of national qualifications framework, a credit transfer system and mutual recognition of qualifications. Qualifications frameworks have become a global phenomenon and a necessity for sustainable quality in the increasingly globalized education environment.
Efforts he said, needed to be deepened in “fostering quality education by looking at qualifications, weeding out the fake ones and ensuring that verifying certificates wouldn’t become something difficult for us to do.” He said we need to ensure that holders of certificates hold ones that are genuine, authentic and that they were earned.