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Unreasonable Actions of GTEC to Collapse Private Universities, Colleges, Institutions in Ghana By August 2024

By Razak Kojo Opoku
Article Unreasonable Actions of GTEC to Collapse Private Universities, Colleges, Institutions in Ghana By August 2024
TUE, 16 APR 2024 LISTEN

The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission(GTEC) under the leadership of Professor Ahmed Abdulai Jinapor, Director-General has given 31st August 2024 as the deadline to close down all tertiary education institutions which failed to meet the requirements for a Presidential Charter.

Following the enactment of the Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020(Act 1023), all tertiary institutions are mandated under the law to Charter by 31st August 2024. However, a caveat has been given by the GTEC that, tertiary institutions that are unable to meet the minimum requirements for the Presidential Charter prior to the expiration of 31st August 2024 deadline but have demonstrated sufficient cause to Charter by 31st August 2024 would be given an additional two years to finalize their respective charter applications with the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission(GTEC).

The application fee for the Charter was initially Sixty Thousand Ghana Cedis(GHS 60,000.00) but strangely GTEC has increased the application fee to Seventy Thousand Ghana Cedis(GHS 70,000.00).

The rushing enforcement of the Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020(Act 1023) by GTEC would automatically collapse almost all the Private Universities, Colleges and other institutions in the Country by 31st August 2024.

The idea of a Chartered University/College/Institute is good as it grants autonomy to the Chartered Private University/College/other Institutions to become comparable to the Public Universities as well as award their own undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. But the question is, must it be done under mandatory conditions? Certainly not. That's not the best practices internationally.

The Charter process under the Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020(Act 1023) should be an OPTIONAL PATHWAY, and not Mandatory as it being strictly enforced by Akufo-Addo's Government through GTEC.

The Optional Pathway is the acceptable international best practices and this would rather offer flexibility and affordability to the Private Universities, Colleges and other institutions to properly develop individual competencies and resources to be able to qualify for the Presidential Charter at the appropriate time without unnecessary financial burden and stress.

The financial, logistical and infrastructure strengths differs among Private Universities, Colleges and other tertiary institutions.

The overwhelming list of requirements demanded by GTEC before a Private University, College or Institute would be given a Presidential Charter are absolutely unreasonable.

Due to COVID-19 and poor economic conditions in the Country, many Private Universities, Colleges and Institutions are facing serious financial challenges, gaps in physical infrastructure as well as enrollment deficit of students.

Across the world, Private Universities, Colleges and other tertiary institutions are allowed to operate without a Presidential Charter as they take their time to be nurtured by the well established Public Universities, and they are assessed by the Regulatory Bodies based on the quality of teaching, research and graduates they produced.

Akufo-Addo's Government through the Ministry of Education as a matter of urgency should call the leadership of Ghana Tertiary Education Commission(GTEC) to order as well as instruct them to outrightly suspend the 31st August 2024 deadline given to the Private Universities, Colleges and other institutions to meet the requirements for the Presidential Charter.

The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission should be reasonably enough to appreciate the negative impact on Students, Parents, Employment rate and the general economy if they force the closure of Private Universities, Colleges and other institutions by 31st August 2024.

It is a needless decision by GTEC to enforce unnecessary laws under an already prevailing struggling economy especially in an election year.

The leadership of Ghana Tertiary Education Commission(GTEC), Ministry of Education and Akufo-Addo's Government should appreciate the fact that, it took:

1. University of Ghana 13years(1948-1961) before receiving a Presidential Charter to become fully-fledged University.

2. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology 10years(1951-1961) before receiving a Presidential Charter to become fully-fledged University.

3. University of Cape Coast 9years(1962-1971) before receiving a Presidential Charter to become fully-fledged University.

4. University of Education, Winneba 12years(1992-2004) before receiving a Presidential Charter to become fully-fledged University.

5. University of Professional Studies, Accra 43years(1965-2008) before receiving a Presidential Charter to become fully-fledged University.

6. University of Mines and Technology 52years(1952-2004) before receiving a Presidential Charter to become fully-fledged University.

7. Ghana Communication Technology University 72years(1948-2020) before receiving a Presidential Charter to become fully-fledged University.

Even with Government funding and supporting systems, let's consider the number of years the aforementioned Public Universities had before becoming a Chartered University. Also the Technical Universities were not given a Presidential Charter overnight.

There is the need for Ghana Tertiary Education Commission(GTEC) to indefinitely suspend the enforcement of the 31st August 2024 deadline given to Private Universities/Colleges/other tertiary institutions. That deadline is politically, economically and educationally unproductive.

Investors and Employees are still struggling with the negative effects of the Banking Sector Clean-up Exercise and the ongoing Domestic Debt Exchange Programme, why should Akufo-Addo's Government allows Ghana Tertiary Education Commission(GTEC) to pour salt into the wounds of Investors in the Private Tertiary Educational Sector of the economy?

Adding insult to injury of the Private Sector certainly defeat the ideological identity of the New Patriotic Party(NPP). Some decisions of Akufo-Addo's Government are destroying the image, reputation, ideological identity and private sector growth philosophy of the New Patriotic Party(NPP) as well as grossly undermining the chances of the 2024 Presidential Candidate of NPP.

According to Article 36(2) of 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, the State shall, in particular, take all necessary steps to establish a sound and healthy economy whose underlying principles shall include-

(b). affording ample opportunity for individual initiative and creativity in economic activities and fostering an enabling environment for a pronounced role of the private sector in the economy;

(c). ensuring that individuals and the private sector bear their fair share of social and national responsibilities including responsibilities to contribute to the overall development of the Country.

So, what is the crime of Private Universities, Colleges and other tertiary institutions for contributing to the overall development of the educational sector of the national economy that Akufo-Addo's Government through GTEC are threatening to close them down by 31st August 2024 on the basis of requirements for a Presidential Charter?

Meanwhile, in other jurisdictions, Presidential Charter has always been an Optional Pathway for Tertiary Institutions to decide whether to award their own degrees or allow a well established University to do so on their behalf through an affiliation system or collaborative Partnership.

It has been 32 years since the enactment and adoption of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana yet all successive governments including Akufo-Addo's Government were UNABLE to fully implement the Article 38(Educational Objectives) for all citizens of Ghana, so why the needless rushing of the enforcement of Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020(Act 1023)?

Instead of closing them down by 31st August 2024, let's continue to support, nurture and guide the Private Universities, Colleges and other Tertiary Institutions to grow and remain competitive in the educational sector of the national economy of Ghana.

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