The government is considering merging the National Accreditation Board (NAB) and the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE).
Consequently, a committee has been set up to look into the operations of the two bodies and remove any bureaucratic elements in their operations for their smooth fusion.
The Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, made the revelation in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic on the way forward for tertiary education in the country.
He said the decision for the proposed fusion formed part of a move by the government to undertake major policy changes concerning tertiary education in the country.
Prof. Yankah said under the circumstances, a number of committees were being set up to start “very careful processes” of examining issues regarding the needs of both private and public tertiary institutions.
He said between now and the end of the year, the government would work principally on policy changes and “tighten loose ends before introducing new bills in Parliament to be passed into laws to change the original policies”.
Among other things, he said, the committees would examine mentoring processes in tertiary institutions and phase out or eliminate steps considered unimportant.
He gave an assurance that the government would critically scrutinise documents and not rush matters just for the sake of changing policy.
“So we are not rushing the committees. They should consider the needs of both private and public institutions and navigate through them carefully in order not to compromise on quality.
“We will make sure that we come up with new policies that allow both affiliated and mentoring institutions to breathe and feel easy, so they do not exist with the stigma of being mere university colleges. We will ensure quality in both private and public universities,” Prof. Yankah said.
The minister said the committee was expected to submit its preliminary report to the government by the end of August this year.
He said the report would be subjected to further stakeholder discussions in order to come up with a revised policy document that would make investing in tertiary education more attractive.
Throwing light on the mentorship of tertiary institutions, he said it should be easier for university colleges to become fully fledged institutions if all requirements were satisfied, “without having to wait for 15 years or more before the entity can award degrees on its own”.
He said 10 years of mentorship “is certainly too much. It is not done anywhere I know. All over Africa, except in one or two countries, we do not have university colleges in the sense that we have them here”.
Citing examples from Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, Prof. Yankah said: “There are university colleges for other reasons but not in the sense of being a mentee.”
He said in those countries, the standards for obtaining a licence to operate were very high and once a provisional licence was issued, it meant the university was almost autonomous.
“This is because the rules and regulations are so stringent that to have been given the opportunity to take off, you should have been there,” he said, adding that “but in Ghana, it will even be a record to be granted a Presidential Charter within 10 years”.
He said all private universities in the country that were autonomous had been under mentorship between 15 and 18 years, describing that as unacceptable.
Background of mentoring
Prof. Yankah said mentorship of university colleges by public universities was not a new phenomenon and recalled that the University of Ghana was once the University College of Gold Coast, under the mentorship of the University of London.
“Mentoring is good; it helps you stand on your own,” he said, adding that the University of Ghana could not have been where it is today if it had not gone through a mentoring process.
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