3 Charter-Ready Private University Colleges
Three private university colleges, all faith-based, have met the criteria of the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) to be awarded a presidential charter.
These are the Catholic University College of Fiapre in the Ahafo Region, the Presbyterian University College of Abetifi in the Eastern Region and the Methodist University College of Dansoman in the Greater Accra Region.
The three university colleges arrived at the charter stage after spending more than 10 years each being mentored by public universities to prepare them for self-reliance.
GTEC Director General, Prof. Mohammed Salifu, who disclosed in an interview, said his team had already submitted their recommendations to the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum.
Explaining what a presidential charter is, Prof. Salifu said that when an institution receives university college status, “it means that it is a university in the making. It intends to be a full-fledged university, but for now it is under some kind of trusteeship.
“These institutions evolve over a period of time until their systems mature so that they can do things on their own and repeatedly deliver quality,” explained the chief executive.
Scrolling the Daily Graphic through the charter, Prof Salifu said that “The President may, on the advice of the commission (GTEC) given through the Minister, grant a charter to a higher education institution for enable the institution to award certificates, diplomas and degrees.”
“An institution of higher education which is granted a charter is a legal person, carries on the activities of the institution in accordance with the terms and conditions under which the accreditation is granted and can develop and set up the new academic programs of the institution subject to review by the commission in accordance with the provisions of the law,” he cited an article of the law (Law 1023) to support his thesis.
Further, he explained that such an institution could establish constituent campuses and colleges which should conform to the standards prescribed by the regulations made under the law, adding that “the institution may award degrees, including honorary degrees.
“Despite subsection (1), constituent colleges and campuses of an institution of higher learning shall not share premises with incompatible businesses.”
Shedding light on the charter, he explained that “the charter is a seal of approval and university colleges have come of age.”
“That means they can handle things independently, but are still subject to regulatory requirements, and so before they put together a course, for example, they will have to come for accreditation,” Professor Salifu added.
He said, however, that every five years the GTEC was mandated to return to the university for an institutional review to ensure it maintained the standard, adding that if within the next five years, or in fact, at any time after the charter has been granted it is detected that the standards have been compromised, “we can have the charter revoked”.
According to the Education Regulatory Bodies Act 2020 (Act 1023), the President “may, on the recommendation of the commission given through the Minister, revoke, amend or otherwise vary the provisions of ‘a charter when the president considers that the revocation, modification or modification is in the best interest of higher education in the country’.
Talking about accreditation, Prof. Salifu explained that apart from institutional accreditation, every program that the institution wants to set up has to be checked and approved by the GTEC before getting accreditation.
He said the GTEC needed to ensure that the university had the facilities for such a program, the course content and the people who could teach the course.
“So before the university gives a course, they have to come for accreditation,” he added.
Regarding institutional accreditation, Prof. Salifu explained that “institutional accreditation concerns the institution as a whole”.
For example, he asked, “does it have the systems, structures and human resources to function as a university”?