Open Letter To The Vice-Chancellor of UPSA - withdraw this policy to admit students with aggregate 6

By Kenneth Kuranchie, Esq
Letter Open Letter To The Vice-Chancellor of UPSA - withdraw this policy to admit students with aggregate 6

Dear Sir,
On 6th December 2022, the website, reported a news item with the headline ‘UPSA to limit 2023/24 admissions to aggregate 6’.

Several other websites and news portals subsequently reported news and headlines to the same effect.

In the above-cited publication, the following words and intentions were attributed to you;

“The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) says it will limit the 2023/24 admissions to applicants who score an aggregate six in their WASSCE examinations.

“The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey, who disclosed this at a ceremony in the school, explained that this is to curb the rise in the number of admissions to the school.

“According to him, the rate of admissions is going overboard – which is putting pressure on the school’s facilities.

“He said despite the deliberate efforts by management to provide more facilities, it has become important admission numbers are checked.

“Professor Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey, therefore, urged potential applicants to better their grades if they want to be admitted.

“…and I want to believe that going forward from next year, we may cut down on the numbers because it is getting overboard much as we try to put up facilities, we realize that too much of you are coming in.

““So please tell your brothers and sisters that if you don’t get aggregate six, UPSA next year, you can’t enter. It is very important,” he said.”

I have noted that since this widely disseminated news item was published, there has not been a retraction or rejoinder, either from you, or the university, which leads to the assumption that the publication was factual, and the intention contained therein is meant to be carried out.

In light of the above, I wish to recommend the following actions to you;

1. That you please seek the legal opinion of the eminent lawyers at the UPSA’s School of Law, the Legal Department of the School itself, the Legal Departments of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, as well as the Attorney-General on the legal position with regard to the decision to limit admission into the university to students with only Aggregate 6; and

2. To cause the withdrawal of your statement pending advice from the individuals and institutions named above.

I am making these recommendations to you for the following reasons;

(a). That the requirement that admission would be granted to only students with an aggregate of 6 (meaning that the applicants for admission would have to score A in the three (3) core subjects and three As in the electives) would unfairly discriminate against thousands of otherwise very qualified students certified by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for admission into the university, particularly students from public and underperforming institutions.

Indeed, it is well-known that currently, candidates must obtain A1-C6 in three core subjects; namely, Mathematics, Integrated Science, and English Language, to be considered for admission into universities in Ghana.

This has already created a huge backlog of students who may never receive the privilege of tertiary education.

It is important to note that the cut-off point for admission requirements of universities in the country is grade C6.

The Grade Definition says A1 refers to Excellent, representing 75% - 100%; B2 for Very Good, 70% - 74%; B3 represents Good, 65%- 69%; C4 interpreted as Credit, 60% - 64%; C5 is Credit, 55% - 59%; C6 is Credit, 50% - 54%; D7 refers Pass, 45% - 49%; E8 is Pass, 40% - 45%; F9 refers to Failure, 0% - 44%.

(b). That by the standards of WAEC, a student with Aggregate 48 is qualified to enjoy tertiary education, and therefore the decision to limit admission to study in the hallowed halls of UPSA to only those with Aggregate 6, is NOT PROPER exercise of discretion.

(c) That the decision sins against the right to higher education by otherwise qualified individuals.

(d) That UPSA, as a public, State-owned institution, has a duty to admit all students who have met the qualifying criteria set by WAEC, and who have applied to be admitted to that institution.

(e) That lack of facilities cannot be an adequate excuse to deny admission to fee-paying and qualified students in these days of satellite campuses, distance learning, e-learning, rotational classes, night schools, weekend schools, and the many other variations by which education and knowledge can be imparted.

(f) That if UPSA cannot meet demand, in spite of all the above options suggested, the Council of the school should make representation to the owners of the school to provide further and more facilities, instead of the option adopted.

(g) That the authorities at UPSA are bound by the laws of Ghana and are required to live up to constitutional requirements and make themselves ready to admit qualifying students, in this case, students with grades up to Aggregate 48.

The above reasons are founded on the following legal positions under the laws of Ghana, which I wish to bring to your attention;

i. The University of Professional Studies (hereinafter referred to as UPSA) is a public-owned institution under an Act of the Parliament of Ghana, that is University of Professional Studies Act, 2012 (Act 850).

ii. Section 26 of Act 850 provides, on funding of the university thus;

“(1) the funds of the university include; (a) subvention approved by parliament.”

iii. As a publicly owned and funded institution, UPSA is bound and amenable to the laws of Ghana, specifically the 1992 Constitution (hereinafter referred to as “the Constitution’), and other laws.

iv. Article 38. (1) of the Constitution states;

“The State shall provide EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES AT ALL LEVELS and in all regions of Ghana, and shall, to the greatest extent feasible, make those facilities available to ALL citizens.” (Emphasis provided).

v. Article 17. (2 and 3) of the Constitution states;

“(2) A person shall not be DISCRIMINATED against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed, or SOCIAL or economic status.

“(3) For the purposes of this article, “discriminate” means to give different treatment to different persons attributable only or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, gender, occupation, religion, or creed, whereby persons of one description are subjected to DISABILITIES OR RESTRICTIONS to which persons of another description are not made subject or are granted privileges or advantages which are not granted to persons of another description.” (Emphasis provided).

vi. Article 25. (1)(c) of the Constitution states;

“(1) All persons shall have the right to EQUAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES AND FACILITIES and with a view to achieving the full realization of that right-

(c) HIGHER education shall be made EQUALLY ACCESSIBLE TO ALL, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of FREE education.” (Emphasis provided).

vii. Article 296 of the Constitution states;
“Where in this Constitution or any other law DISCRETIONARY POWER is vested in any person or authority-

(a) That discretionary power shall be deemed to imply a duty to be fair and candid;

(b) The exercise of discretionary power shall not be ARBITRARY, CAPRICIOUS or biased either by resentment, prejudice or personal dislike and shall be in accordance with due process of law…” (Emphasis provided).

viii. The West African Examinations Council (hereinafter referred to as WAEC), which conducts the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), was passed by Ordinance in 1951.

By that Ordinance, WASSCE certifies students qualified for admission to universities with grades ranging from A1 to E8, or the aggregate of those.

Flowing from the above, I believe that your announcement flies in the face of the laws of Ghana, is discriminatory, and intends to disallow thousands of otherwise very qualified Ghanaian students from studying at the University of Professional Studies.

I do not believe that it is proper exercise of discretion, and should be abandoned at the earliest opportunity before it leads to unnecessary hardship for students who applied to enter your university in the last WASSCE examination without knowledge of the draconian standard your institution intended to set at a future date.

Please review your decision at the earliest convenient date, Sir.

Respectfully submitted.
Kenneth Kuranchie, Esq.
Telephone 0244206890