University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and Technical University Teachers Association (TUTAG have made a passionate appeal to the regulator responsible for accreditation of programmes of study in tertiary institutions to rescind its decision to freeze all new courses.
The tertiary teacher unions highlighted that the decision by the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) to freeze accreditation of all new programmes run by the various universities tends to thwart efforts in designing new innovative programmes to meet the country’s development needs.
Furthermore, the decision also goes a long way to affect students who pursued the programme for a career, as no institution engages graduates who hold unaccredited certificates. This will also curtail their dreams of advancing studies in that field.
National President-UTAG, Prof. Mamudu A. Akudugu, in a statement, said: “We are therefore pleading with GTEC to recede on its decision and approve the existing programmes pursued at the various academic institutions while the leadership of the unions ensure the institutions improve on the infrastructure to meet the quality standard of education”.
Information gathered by the B&FT indicates that a number of tertiary institutions, especially the newly converted technical universities, are running unaccredited programmes, posing a threat to the career path of some students.
This has become a big worry to some parents; therefore, UTAG and TUTAG believe that GTEC needs to undertake a holistic review of the accreditation regime for academic and professional programmes of public universities to meet the current needs of the world of work.
While UTAG has no objection to the establishment of the GTEC, members note with extreme worry and concern about GTEC’s current actions, including its unilateral decisions and inconsistent implementation with disregard for the academic freedoms of public universities, which is entrenched in the 1992 Constitution.
TUTAG President, Dr. Collins Ameyaw, stressed that the imposition of a single organogram on all public universities in contravention of the various Acts that set them up and the unilateral decision to freeze the accreditation of new academic programmes in public universities are clear violations of public universities’ academic freedoms, among other things.
The unions, furthermore, recommend an urgent commencement of a multi-stakeholder engagement that will lead to the amendment of the Education Regulatory Bodies’ Act 2020 (Act 1023), which established the GTEC and other bodies to make it more responsive to the needs of contemporary higher education and conducive to the exercise of academic freedom of the universities.
Background of freeze
In May this year, GTEC suspended the processing of new accreditation applications for academic programmes being pursued in all the public universities across the country with immediate effect until January 2024.
This was a decision aimed at sanitising the accreditation space as a result of the persistent non-compliance by many of the institutions having programmes with accreditation requirement issues.
Checks indicate that most of the institutions running unaccredited programmes do not meet some of the criteria, especially in the areas of teaching and learning facilities and qualified lecturers to handle the courses.
GTEC also warned tertiary institutions and media houses to desist from advertising unaccredited programmess, and that the commission would soon embark on checks at the various tertiary institution and the programmes being run.