Professor Mohammed Salifu, Director General, Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC), has assured private tertiary education institutions of the Commission’s support to their growth and sustainability to contribute to national development.
The Professor indicated that GTEC would impress upon its curriculum assessors that its mandate was more of a peer review exercise, hence the need to encourage flexibility and innovation and that the ultimate decision lied with the Commission and not the assessors, urging them to make a pitch of distinction.
Prof Salifu made the remarks when the Executives of the Council of Independent Universities (CIU) led by its Chairman, Prof. Nicholas N.N. Nsowah-Nuamah, paid a working visit to him in Accra.
The CIU team commended the merged entity for a good job done in maintaining standards in tertiary education and applauded GTEC’s role in the effective regulation of the education sub-sector.
They also raised challenges faced by private tertiary education institutions which included GTEC’s requirement of having senior lecturers appointed as heads of departments, which they claim, was a difficulty in certain disciplines.
The CIU urged the Commission to reconsider its stance and take into account the number of years’ experience by the lecturers, who did not have the requisite publications to be on the senior lecturer rank to prevent stalling of programmes.
The CIU further advocated for their mentor institutions to play a major role in the assessment of curriculum for re-accreditation since they issued their qualifications rather than leaders of assessment panels trying to replicate what pertains in their institutions.
The team appealed for the intervention of GTEC because most private tertiary education institutions were owing so much in affiliation fees, accumulated over the years and that their plea for a waiver had not been heeded to.
In addition, the CIU delegation requested for clear cut guidelines or road map detailing processes and requirements to charter.
They were of the opinion that the requirements should vary since the institutions have their peculiarities and that the issue of not getting support from GETFUND was of worry to the private tertiary education institutions.
The CIU also inquired of the status of the Centralized Application Processing System (CAPS) which they believed would be advantageous to the private institutions as it might cap the number of students that public universities could admit.
In his response, Prof Salifu stated that some of their concerns could be addressed in the very short term and others with time and that on the score of senior lecturers to be appointed as heads of departments, an action, he said could be taken by appointing someone to act and another to supervise, especially under a re-accreditation situation.
On the matter of affiliation, the Professor was of the view that it was a difficult one because it was an arrangement between the mentor and mentee, nonetheless, there would be engagements to assist the private institutions to stay afloat.
Prof Salifu explained that there had been a policy change with regards to Charter as private tertiary education institutions now have 4 years and another 2 years to wrap up.
He indicated that currently the legislative instrument was being worked on and that GTEC would facilitate the flexibility that made allowance for institutions to charter without compromising standards.
Touching on the CAPS, Prof Salifu said it delayed due to financing issues, which had been resolved and a consultant would be commissioned to start work soon.
On the request for GETFUND support for private institutions, he said that it could be a bit tricky, however, support for faculty could be explored.
The CIU team included Prof. Albert Addo-Quaye, Prof. Afua Hesse, Prof. Malcolm Mclver, Dr. Daniel Aboagye and Ms. Annemarie Amoah-Ahinful.