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22.02.2014 Opinion


By Jeffrey Odame Koranteng
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Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is merely to create awareness. I do not by any means intend to start some propaganda against “the powers that be” in order to force their hand. This battle has been going on in the shadows for a long time and maybe it is time it was brought to light. My weapon of choice, social media.

Let us start with the facts. Ashesi University College (note the highlighted word cos I will come back to that?) is considered by many to be the best university in Ghana. It was voted the 7th most respected company in Ghana 2012 by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Business and Financial Times. It was ranked the 10 best university in Africa by Blog. Ashesi's Founder and President Dr Patrick Awuah was voted the 4th Most Respectable CEO in Ghana 2012. In 2007, the then President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor presented Patrick Awuah with the Order of the Volta Award in recognition of his efforts in improving tertiary education in Ghana. He was also named amongst the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2010 by Fast Company Magazine. Point is, the man has a lot of awards. Now would it surprise you to learn that despite all these awards and recognition the institution has received over the years, it still has no charter??

FYI, a charter is given by provincial, state, regional, and sometimes national governments to legitimize the university's existence. Ergo, without a charter Ashesi doesn't officially exist. Crazy right? In Ghana, it is the National Accreditation Board that hands out charters to universities. So you're probably wondering how the university has operated for the past decade. I can assure you, it's doing nothing illegal. Currently, Ashesi is affiliated with the University of Cape Coast (UCC). As such, all exams papers are reviewed by a UCC board. Ashesi uses UCC's grading system and Ashesi students received UCC degrees on graduation day. As one student put it “Why should I go to school and go through rigorous courses designed & taught by Ashesi lecturers only to graduate and get a UCC degree? It just doesn't make sense”. Excellent point in fact. Has Ashesi not proven itself as ready to be autonomous? And it's not that UCC is a bad school or anything like that. It's actually a very good university, not as great as Ashesi of course, but then again I may be biased.

Last year, it was reported that UCC was going to assist Ashesi University College to gain autonomy after Dr. Patrick Awuah indicated the college's intention to apply for a charter after 10 years of mentorship with UCC. Well according to sources, the move fell through. Why?? Apparently, there's a “new rule” that in order to be considered a university in Ghana you need to have 25 majors?? What!!!!!. And of course, there is no mention of quality in there. So what is the essence of offering 25 inferior majors?? Anyways, back to the matter. Ashesi currently offers only 3 majors. If the Engineering block that the school is currently building is completed in the 2015, that number will rise to 6 and it still would not be enough. Does that mean if Ashesi removes the “university” from its name, it will then receive accreditation? Or maybe Ashesi should rename itself? Like Ashesi School of Science and Business or Ashesi Institute of Business and Technology?? Smh, I dunno about you but I smell tuna!

Now this is not Ashesi's first bout with the National Accreditation Board. Back in 2008, the National Accreditation Board of Ghana (NAB) recently gave the school a directive of suspending its Honor System (The only one in the country). The Senior Assistant Secretary at the NAB Richard Agyei told Joy News that the Ashesi Honor System is “market copying of what happens in other systems without taking into consideration what your own circumstances are.” What are our circumstances? What does that even mean? That Ashesi shouldn't compare itself to Ivy League schools in the US, or Ghana is full of unethical citizens. Or that once a cheat, always a cheat? That statement I think is gross disrespect to the country. Anyway, this had led some to speculate that someone up there is holding an old grudge with Ashesi.

As I stated in the beginning, this article is simply meant to create awareness so that we can raise questions? Has Ashesi not proven itself to Ghana and the world already? Is the student not ready to become the master? If you feel the NAB is making the wrong decision, speak up. Hopefully enough people will learn of what is happening and the issue can be settled. As Phil Mcgraw put it “Awareness without action is worthless”. You can take action now by hashtagging #GiveAshesiaCharter on all social media networks after reading this

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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