The Executive Director of National Accreditation Board, Mr. Kwame Dartey, has said any university college that believes it is ‘matured’ enough to be given a Presidential Charter must submit its application for a thorough assessment of its facilities, programmes and faculty.
In an interview on why there are so few chartered private universities in the country, he said: “To be given a presidential charter, the board does look at one particular item but series of items in a particular university college.
“If any private university college is able to satisfy all the requirements set by the board, then it will qualify to have a charter to award its own degrees.”
It is required that every university college after operating for a minimum of 10 years sends an application to the NAB for a comprehensive assessment of the institution, its programmes, facilities and finances; and a report is presented to the Minister of Education for onward recommendation to the President.
When the application is approved by the president he then grants that institution a Charter, which will enable it award its own degrees, diplomas and certificates.
Presently, there are 68 accredited tertiary institutions in the country operating as public and private universities.
Out of this number, only 14 are chartered degree-awarding universities which by law have the power to confer degrees.
Valley View University, Trinity Theological College, and Akrofi-Christaller Memorial Research Institute are the only chartered private tertiary institutions eligible to award degrees.
The Council of Independent Universities of Ghana has described the affiliation system in the country as a “grand exploitation” scheme, designed to rip-off nascent tertiary institutions and make private university education “expensive”.
They argue that the affiliation system — wherein a private university college understudies a public university until the private university college becomes mature and receives a presidential charter to run its own graduate programmes — has become a major source of revenue for the mentor universities as exorbitant fees are charged for it.
To enable more private universities to have the capacity for awarding their own degrees, experts have urged government to start the process of gradually phasing out the system of affiliation to public universities, and rather retool the NAB as well as streamline its operations to solely maintain standards in universities — as is done in several African countries.
Speaking on how new colleges can also be established, Mr. Dartey said new entrants must show physical facilities, library facilities, proof of financial sustainability and governance system statutes to govern the running of the institution as well as proof of affiliation.
“All these must be in place and the Board must be informed for the requisite inspections by relevant experts to be conducted.
“Financial Guarantee must be provided by a Bank, Insurance Company, Church, etc. to ensure completion of enrolled students in case of the institution’s financial difficulties,” he added.