Foreign institutions warned over PhD admissions

Foreign tertiary institutions in Ghana have been directed by the National Accreditation Board, or NAB, to ensure that only students with certificates awarded by institutions accredited by the board be admitted to PhD courses.

It is also concerned about a spate of honorary degrees awarded to personalities by some unaccredited or unqualified institutions.

It had come to NAB’s attention that “some registered foreign institutions have been admitting students with qualifications from unaccredited institutions to pursue higher degree programmes”, the board said in a statement.

“We wish to remind all registered foreign institutions that they must ensure that students seeking admission to their higher degree programmes (especially PhD) present academic credentials from only accredited institutions before considering such applications.”

Institutions could ask the board to evaluate and authenticate certificates before accepting candidates for admission, said NAB, adding: “Failure to comply with this directive would compel the board to apply appropriate sanctions not excepting revocation of registration status.”

Institutions told to stop admissions

Meanwhile, NAB has directed the public University for Development Studies to cease new admissions to its BEd in health sciences programme from the 2015-16 academic year, due to concerns about the course.

It also asked the private Data Link Institute to stop fresh admission to all programmes “due to overcrowding and poor physical facilities”.

The private Jayee University College has also been directed to cease admissions following a “myriad of issues and deficiencies identified by auditors”.

“The University of Education, Winneba, the mentoring institution, is expected to provide close supervision of students already enrolled in Jayee University College’s programmes until they graduate,” said NAB. “This is to ensure that the students do not lose out on quality delivery.”

Honorary degrees

NAB said it had noticed with “concern the spate of conferment of honorary degrees and professorial titles on some important personalities by some unaccredited institutions, accredited institutions unqualified to award degrees on their own or other institutions with doubtful credentials".

“The conferment of honorary degrees is the prerogative of degree awarding institutions so mandated. Therefore accredited private tertiary institutions operating under the mentorship of chartered, degree-awarding universities are not qualified by themselves to confer honorary degrees.”

NAB said institutions that were not qualified to award honorary degrees but did so were contravening Regulation 19 (1) of the Tertiary Institutions (Establishment and Accreditation) Regulation 2010, which states that institutions could not award degrees, diplomas or honorary degrees without a charter granted by the president.

“There are also instances where some foreign institutions confer such honorary degrees, particularly doctorate degrees, on prominent personalities with intent to legitimise and popularise the operations of the institutions in Ghana, and thereby seek to attract unsuspecting students to enrol in them,” said NAB.

NAB added: “It must be made clear that universities and other tertiary education institutions which are unaccredited by the relevant authorities in their home countries cannot be authorised to award any degree – regular or honorary – in Ghana.”

It cautioned the public and suggested that distinguished personalities offered honorary degrees should verify the accreditation status and degree-awarding powers of the institutions involved to avoid embarrassing fallouts.

NAB said that to clear up doubt that might exist, Day Spring Christian University of Mississippi, Pan African Clergy Council and Bible College, World Council for Evangelical Clergy and Global Centre for Transformational Leadership had not been accredited in Ghana or their home countries by recognised accrediting bodies.