The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) has given public universities up to September 30, to halt the operation of unapproved campuses other than their main campuses.
In an interview with Daily Graphic, the Deputy Director General of GTEC, Professor Ahmed Abdulai Jinapor said “We have written to them to cease the running of such centres by September 30. Some of them have written to us asking for dialogue and conversation, which we do not have any problem with.”
“At the end of the day, what we are looking for is that we want things to be done and done properly,” he noted.
Most of the established universities have other campuses throughout the country in a bid to extend their programmes to the various regions.
The GTEC insists that many of the centres are not fit for purpose, hence its refusal to sanction them.
Prof. Jinapor, however, admitted that not all such centres were illegal.
“We have some that have approval but all those in senior high schools and colleges of education run by universities as distance, as well as nursing institutions by universities and in some instances places of work are illegal.
“We are not against distance education, but it must be fit for purpose like the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology one at Tamale and not those using basic and senior high schools or churches as centres,” he said.
“Distance education is part of the policy of GTEC to bring tertiary education to the doorstep of the poor but not distancing education,” Prof. Jinapor explained.
He said the GTEC was working with the Ghana Education Service to issue a fiat to all senior high and basic school heads to desist from giving out their schools as centres to such universities.
Prof. Jinapor described as unacceptable the use of office premises and basic school compounds as centres of learning for some of the universities, saying such centres were “not fit for purpose”.
Touching on courses offered on satellite campuses, Prof. Jinapor also stated that it was unacceptable for a public university in one region to establish a campus in another region where there is a public university to run the same programmes.
The GTEC Deputy Director-General gave an assurance that the commission was working hard to deal with the numerous challenges bedevilling that space.
“The tertiary education landscape is a cancerous environment but we will definitely purge it of this cancer. The only way that we can do this is to get the buy-in of the immediate stakeholders within this architecture, which is the management of the institutions,” he said.
Prof. Jinapor appealed to parents to take a keen interest in the institutions and programmes their children select, giving the assurance that whatever the GTEC was doing was in the interest of parents and their wards.
He dispelled the perception that the position of GTEC was meant to make tertiary education scarce, thereby denying some people tertiary education.
“So, we are aware of all these challenges; we are working very hard to address them. It will take some time but we are very committed to getting these issues addressed and we are working with speed,” he said.
“We pray and hope that it will get to a time that the institutions will buy into the fact that without accreditation, you cannot run a programme. We have instances where students have got scholarships to study abroad and those scholarships have been denied because the awarding institutions go on the GTEC website only to realise that those programmes are not accredited,” he said.