The National Accreditation Board (NAB) has expressed grave concern about the award of Honorary Degrees by some tertiary institutions in the country which do not qualify to do so, adding that some people pay as much as $12,000.00 to some institutions just to obtain honorary degrees, especially PhDs.
Some private tertiary institutions in Ghana, according to the Board, have made it a business of charging people money and conferring various degrees, especially PhDs on them, a situation which has dire consequences on the future of tertiary education in the country.
Nib the situation in the bud
“If we don’t check it, a time will come that people wouldn’t want to go and study because if I can buy it, why then should I go and study. Then our doctoral programmes will die … we need to nib this in the bud and the media can help us”, Dr. Kingsley Nyarko, the Executive Director of NAB was speaking in Kumasi during a seminar organized by his outfit for media personnel drawn from the Ashanti, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions.
The programme was aimed at deepening participants understanding of the mandate and operations of the Board as well as providing more insight into the importance in regulating tertiary education sector to ensure quality.
“We need to be very careful about the award of honorary degrees. It’s so bad. It’s being abused. Honorary degrees are part of the academic system but the point is that we don’t have to abuse it. The title must not even be used…..if we don’t check it, a time will come that people wouldn’t want to study.”
He further said there are a lot of institutions which are awarding Honorary degrees without the requisite accreditation to do so and advised the public to conduct checks on tertiary institutions they wish to attend before enrolling.
“I’ve been saying that titles don’t matter, what matters is your ability to perform effective what you’ve been assigned to do”, he also stated.
Dr. Kingsley Nyarko called for closer collaboration between NAB and the media to protect and enhance the dignity of tertiary education in the country.
“Together, we can work to enhance tertiary education in this country. We need it to make this country work. This country can never work without us making sure that the standards are adhered to, the right programmes are put in place, the right faculties, and lecturers are engaged in our tertiary education institutions….”, he emphasized.
“Without a very robust and very effective tertiary education system, this country will still struggle to realise the agenda we have….”
Software for verification
He disclosed that his outfit will soon launch a software that will enable the public to evaluate and verify the authenticity of their certificates, adding that obtaining certificates from accredited tertiary education institution protects the interest of students, parents the academic institutions themselves and potential employers.
For his part, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association, Kingsley E. Hope reminded journalists not to prefix names of individuals with honorary titles as a way of curbing the abuse and misuse of such titles.
Mr. Hope, who is also the Ashanti Regional Editor of the Ghanaian Times advised media houses to place the interest of the public ahead of their commercial interest in the discharge of their duties.