The 2021 Auditor-General’s report has revealed that some public universities offered a number of unaccredited courses for the year under review.
At the University of Ghana, Legon, some 13 Doctor of Philosophy Degrees out of 67 currently offered by the institution are not accredited.
The audit report identified this out of the total of 374 unaccredited academic programmes offered by the university.
Out of the 374, 14 are Diploma programs, 80 are undergraduate programmes and 213 are Postgraduate programmes.
The affected PhD courses according to Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) include; PhD in Accounting, PhD in African Studies, PhD in Agricultural Extension, PhD in Biomedical Engineering, PhD in Communication Studies.
Others are, PhD in Development Economics, PhD in Development Studies, PhD in Food Science, PhD in Health Policy and Management, PhD in Information Systems, PhD in Marketing, PhD in Material Science and Engineering, and PhD in Soil Science.
“We noted that the University advertised 374 academic programmes on the various web portals that had the accreditation expired or required re-accreditation during the period under review,” portions of the report addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, indicated.
Position of the law
The running of unaccredited courses is in contrast to Section 36 of the Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020 (Act 1023) which “provides that a person who runs or advertises a tertiary education program that is not accredited; commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than ten thousand penalty units and not more than twenty thousand penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years and not more than 20 years, or to both.”
Management has been asked to “liaise with Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) to take retrospective accreditations to cover all the non-accredited certificates issued to students.”
Meanwhile, the Auditor-General’s report, noted that Management has responded to its recommendation.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Ghana has admitted to defaulting in the accreditation of programmes run by the University.
Speaking to Accra-based Joy FM, Professor Gordon Awandare said “I think that the numbers are not that high but it is true that there have been some lapses in the system in terms of keeping the accreditation valid for all times and this is something that has happened over a long period of time over the years where sometimes lapses in communication between the National Accreditation Board then and now GTEC have led to some of these gaps.
“In fact, there are instances where courses have been accredited but the certificates are sitting at GTEC and the Department doesn’t even know.
“And then vice versa there are also cases where there are letters sitting within the University system where the Department is supposed to address certain comments in order for the accreditation to go forward and the accreditation hasn’t taken place because the letter got mixed up in the system.
“We are working with GTEC on what to do to come to an agreement on what to do or cases where there was a gap period where the accreditation was not valid, there are various options whether the University will pay a fine for the accreditation to be backdated just like you do for licenses that have expired and things like that,” Professor Awandare stressed.