200 Private Varsities´┐Żprogrammes Under Review

Over 200 programmes run by private tertiary institutions in the country are currently undergoing review for accreditation and reaccreditation by the National Accreditation Board.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Naana Opoku Agyemang, who disclosed this when the ministry took its turn at the meet-the-press in Accra, said government is implementing measures to improve the management and delivery of private education in the country.

Some of the strategies the ministry is putting in place include capacity building, quality assurance mechanisms, re-registration and fee-setting.

In order to realise its mandate of accreditation both private and public tertiary institutions and their programmes, the National Accreditation Board (NAB) has taken steps of ensuring that programmes run by the institutions meet the minimum standards required.

The public tertiary institutions to which many of the private ones are affiliated have been sensitised to step-up their supervisory functions to provide support that ensures quality delivery in their affiliate institutions.

Many experts have also argued that there is a huge gap between what is being taught in our universities and what industry actually needs in terms of professional skill and talent.

Universities in the country, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, tend to focus more on theory and less on the practical aspects of any subject.

Prof. Naana Opoku Agyemang said government will continue to play its role in ensuring quality output at all levels.

"We urge clarity in procedure, cooperation and open communication to forestall unnecessary tensions on this front. Qualifications go beyond national borders and affect students long after their studies are done," she said.

Enrolment at the tertiary level has increased by 13 percent for universities, 3.0 percent for polytechnics, and 15.8 percent colleges of education.

A total of 55,568 students across the various tertiary institutions were enrolled in science and technology and ICT programmes.

It is widely speculated that institutions of higher learning in the country are shying away from science education provision, as it is more costly to do as compared to arts education provision.
This is in sharp contrast to the Ministry of Education's policy that mandates universities to admit 60 percent students into science programmes and 40 percent in humanities.

But the trend in university enrolment is now of grave concern to many development economists, who argue that the country's development will be stalled as the result of skilled-manpower shortage -- along with lack of technological and scientific knowledge, as this crop of skill-sets is the basis of providing critical manpower to man industries.

They argue further that the manufacturing sector in particular will suffer without the human capital required to propel it. This is evident in the economy, with growth being driven mainly by the service sector as against manufacturing -- making the country uncompetitive in the global market because it lacks the productivity needed to provide goods for sale on the open market.