The current harsh economic conditions in the country, among other things, will make it impossible for many university colleges to beat the 2024 deadline to acquire government Charters to become fully-fledged universities, the Rector of MountCrest University College, Irene Ansa-Asare, has observed.
There are two main requirements for the Charter; the first is quality assurance and the second is financial sustainability.
In terms of financial sustainability, the institution applying for a Charter should not be running on proceeds from school fees alone but must have other sources of revenue.
The Government 2020 merged the National Council for Tertiary Education and the National Accreditation Board under the new Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020 (Act 1023) to form the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC), which set out requirements for tertiary institutions to acquire Charters to become autonomous universities.
Under the Act, it is no longer mandatory for new tertiary education institutions to go into affiliation arrangements with existing chartered institutions to be accredited.
If an affiliated institution is unable to meet the requirements for a Charter within the specified four-year period beginning in 2020 but demonstrates sufficient cause for preparing for a Charter, an additional two years may be given by GTEC to the institution to enable it to meet the requirements for Charter or be closed down.
However, the MountCrest Rector, Ms Ansa-Asare, cautioned that many university colleges risked being closed down if the deadline contained in GTEC’s directive to the institutions to meet the set requirements was not extended.
Speaking at the fifth congregation ceremony of MountCrest University College in Accra, Ms Ansa-Asare called for increased stakeholder engagements, saying, “As far as tertiary education is concerned, the private sector plays a significant role that must not be undermined by an economic and regulatory environment that is inherently discriminatory”.
She added that private tertiary institutions did not operate on a level playing field with their counterparts in the public sector.
According to the rector, the odds were stacked against private universities because Act 1023 together with its related policies had become a double edge sword.
On one hand, she said, private affiliated institutions upon charter would have their own degree awarding powers and the ability to fully pursue innovative programmes that met specific challenges facing our society.
On the other hand, the conditions for the award of Charter to be met by all affiliated institutions by the end of 2024 is unfairly onerous to the affected institutions”, she pointed out.
The rector noted that even the finest institutions would struggle to satisfy all the requirements for Charter today, adding that
“The financial implications alone for private institutions, especially those that do not have financial support from organisations such as churches and funding foundations are dire.
Even more, pressing is the requirement for all faculties to have terminal degrees such as PhDs”.
The Chairman of the Governing Council of MountCrest University College, Kwasi Abeasi, advised the graduating students to be committed to the development of Ghana.
The Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor Ellis Owusu-Dabo, charged the students to be innovative as they stepped out into the world of work.
The KNUST is the mentor institution of MountCrest University College.
The Founder of MountCrest University College, Kwaku Ansa-Asare, was commended for being a catalyst for widening access to legal education by the inclusion of private providers in conformity with the spirit of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana while the co-founder, Helena Ansa-Asare, and the Deputy Rector of the institution, Dr Samuel Akortey Akor, were given special mention for their dedication to education in the country and MountCrest in particular.