Accreditation lies at the heart of advancement


Over the previous 3 years, federal governments in establishing nations, especially in Africa, have actually understood the considerable worth of college for nationwide advancement. Appropriately, lots of federal governments in those nations have actually invested considerably in college growth and have actually enacted liberalisation policies to enable personal business owners to take part in the college sector.
At the exact same time, ‘accreditation ‘ has actually gotten a massive quantity of attention as a crucial instrument for helping Africa to understand totally the worth of college. Accreditation might be considered as the constant procedure of making sure that college organizations and their associated scholastic programs comply with particular laid-down quality requirements in their operations and the shipment of their education programs.
In addition, some African scientists and scholars relate to accreditation as a driver for the revitalisation of college in Africa– to bring it to a par with worldwide appropriate quality requirements.
Others see accreditation as a hedge versus deceitful business owners who would benefit from and make use of susceptible moms and dads, guardians or trainees. In some quarters, accreditation might be interpreted as a protect versus the import of bastardised college organizations to Africa. Lastly, accreditation might be considered a kind of college organizations ‘ responsibility to the public.
Following the example of other nations, the federal government of Ghana developed the National Accreditation Board (NAB) in 1993 as an external quality representative under the Ministry of Education. It is charged with managing, monitoring and recognizing college organizations in Ghana. It likewise examines the equivalencies of foreign and regional education qualifications.
An education organization that is certified in Ghana has actually totally adhered to the NAB’s minimum quality requirements, worths and concepts.
Such an organization has outright autonomy to embrace any mentor practices, methods and methods it thinks about proper; usage whatever methods and approaches it considers ideal for the evaluation of trainee knowing; award certificates, diplomas or degrees to specific trainees; and hire and confess trainees into their programs of research study.
It can likewise put in location any design of governance and administration that it thinks about ideal for its operation.
Ensuring quality in college.
In practice, the NAB examines organizations and their programs for accreditation based upon its panel check out reports and reactions to its surveys. In the survey evaluations, the NAB pays significant attention to the conditions of physical facilities and funds that an university possibly has to perform its operations.
Organization area is not a factor to consider for accreditation, however this runs contrary to the NAB’s claim on its site that the requirement for a specific kind of organization in a specific area is thought about in the accreditation procedure.
Second, the gos to of the NAB’s panel to an organization and the report it composes have higher weight relative to reactions to its survey. Nonetheless, the panel members can quickly be affected with loan, presents and other prized possessions.
To make matters worse, there is no independent evaluation of the panel report (or choices), nor do organizations that have actually been rejected accreditation can appeal versus such choices to a third-party arbitrator. This scenario provides the NAB unconfined power that angers a primary concept of fairness.
Third, the NAB’s claims on its site that it examines the mentor and research study capability of an organization prior to giving accreditation needs to be seriously analyzed.
On the accreditation survey, an organization is asked to connect the qualifications of its scholastic personnel. When an organization’s scholastic personnel pleases the minimum qualifications, which is a masters degree or expert certification, the NAB does refrain from doing anything else. The NAB does not even confirm the number of of the scholastic personnel are part-timers or full-timers.
The NAB does not reasonably examine organizations ‘ research study capability either. In truth, organizations ‘ research study capability has actually never ever been a crucial concern for the NAB. For evaluation of organization research study ability, the NAB just relies solely on the organization having minimum library and info resources. However does access to or ownership of library and info resources always result in research study production?
While library and info resources help research study activities, they are not in and of themselves the driver needed for research study production. Rather, a reputable institutional research study culture is the best driver for research study production: the accessibility of time and financing for research study by scholastic personnel; cooperation amongst scholastic personnel; a premium put on research study as an identified scholastic activity for personnel promo; and research study as a core part of scholastic life.
Undoubtedly, research study output in the type of research study reports and released research study short articles in worldwide journals may well be the proof that the NAB requires for examining an organization’s research study capability.
Evaluating mentor.
What’s more, how does the NAB examine mentor and finding out efficiency in organizations that it has certified? Once again, if an organization’s scholastic personnel pleases the minimum certification requirements the NAB presumes, with no supporting proof, that mentor and knowing need to work because organization.
Even more, the NAB asserts on its site that it recognizes both public and personal college organizations, however the offered proof recommends that the NAB micro-targets greater private-funded education organizations and the general public ones developed after the NAB entered into being. Ghanaian premier or flagship universities like the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Innovation and the University of Cape Coast are yet to experience the effect of NAB’s operations or impact.
Additionally, it needs to be kept in mind that accreditation is veritably a policy instrument. Appropriately, it needs to be connected to a structure of nationwide advancement policies and lined up with other policies too. That method, the federal government, through the NAB, would have the ability to reject accreditation to education organizations whose objectives run out sync with its advancement policies. We have actually not seen this taking place in Ghana and this has actually made accreditation tactically unimportant as one of the tools for nationwide advancement preparation.
Finally, there is no proof to recommend that the NAB’s accreditation has any links to the advancement of results and abilities needed by the Ghanaian labour market. This is really frustrating undoubtedly. It is likewise contrary to NAB’s claim in a World Bank file that it thinks about an organization’s link to the labour market prior to giving accreditation.
The absence of a link in between the accreditation procedure and abilities requirements and conditions in the labour market has actually resulted, as we have actually observed in Ghana, in the production of graduates with unimportant abilities, understanding and personality, contributing to the existing army of out of work university graduates.
The university graduate joblessness rate in Ghana now stands at in between 24% and 25% and continues to increase significantly as both personal and public universities drain more graduates every year.
Advisory function?
On its site, in papers and in other media public alerts, the NAB typically cautions trainees and the public to desist from handling any unaccredited organizations or those whose accreditation has actually been withdrawed or suspended.
In other public alerts, the NAB states that when stakeholders remain in doubt about the accreditation status of any organizations they need to access that info from its site. It presumes incorrectly that every prospective stakeholder has access to the web. What about trainees and moms and dads or guardians from remote rural neighborhoods without web connection?
On its site, the NAB estimates the following guidelines as part of its legal authority to enforce charges on unaccredited organizations that continue to run in Ghana: Guideline 19( 2) of L I 1700 (2002) specifies that “no individual or organization will (a) market or continue to market or in any way hold itself out to the general public as a tertiary organization; (b) confess or continue to confess trainees or carry out courses or programs of guideline causing an award of certificates, diplomas or degrees; (c) continue to run as a tertiary organization where the organization’s authorisation, accreditation or registration has actually been suspended or withdrawed; or (d) otherwise launch or continue with any activity preparatory to the facility of centers for tertiary education; after the beginning of these Laws unless the individual or organization abide by these Laws “.
In truth, Guideline 19( 3) of L I 1700 includes that: “Anyone or organization that contravenes any arrangement of Sub-regulation (2) dedicates an offense and is accountable on summary conviction to a fine not surpassing 250 charge systems. “.
Yet the NAB has actually never ever advised that police lay charges versus or shut down any unaccredited organizations. In practice, organizations that have actually breached the NAB guidelines are left alone.
It appears those guidelines have no genuine enforcement teeth. The truth is that identifying education organizations as unaccredited does refrain from doing much to safeguard the general public interest. Our examinations suggest that those unaccredited organizations continue to run like certified ones.
This holding true, our point of view is that organizations that breach the NAB’s guidelines on accreditation and decline to work with it after an affordable time period need to be shut down right away and completely. That method, the general public interest would be much better safeguarded than alerting trainees and the public to guide far from those organizations.
Inefficient interaction.
A public organization such as the NAB need to run with optimum openness, particularly with regard to its interaction to the general public whose interests it declares to safeguard. A particular example remains in July 2015, when the NAB noted in the Ghanaian media the names of 53 college organizations that were unaccredited.
Because public notice, the NAB noted the area of each organization, however did not note the particular premises on which each was unaccredited. The Ghanaian public should have the right to understand the bases of unaccreditation of those organizations rather of being directed to check out the following declaration from the NAB: “Companies and prospective trainees are recommended to speak with NAB prior to registering in any tertiary organizations in Ghana. “.
Additionally, in those public alerts no telephone number, addresses or other contact info is revealed for the general public to call the NAB. The board presumes, with no scintilla of proof, that it is popular which its contact info is easily offered to everybody.
Capability structure.
The NAB requires huge capability structure to work efficiently as a state-sponsored external quality control company. This would enable the NAB to gain from existing ingenious quality control practices, policies, obstacles and theories from other jurisdictions about how it might execute them in the Ghanaian or African context.
It is important that college organizations in Ghana, both public and personal, are motivated to develop an internal culture of sustainable quality control in the domains of mentor and knowing, trainee evaluation, personnel expert advancement and examination and links to the labour market.
Such an organisational orientation has a higher probability of instilling and promoting a culture of constant quality enhancement in college than simple compliance with the NAB regulations. This is the carrot technique, however the NAB needs to utilize a mix of carrot and stick techniques in the accreditation procedure.
Dr Eric Fredua-Kwarteng is a policy expert in Canada. Samuel Kwaku Ofosu is scholastic affairs officer at Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons.