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DON’T ABUSE ACADEMIC TITLES: ACCREDITATION BOARD HEAD WARNS HONORARY DEGREE-HOLDERS

General News

The executive secretary of the National Accreditation Board (NAB), Kingsley Nyarko, has kicked strongly against abuse of academic titles, and especially honorary doctorates.

The executive secretary of the National Accreditation Board (NAB), Kingsley Nyarko, has kicked strongly against abuse of academic titles, and especially honorary doctorates.

 

He finds it worrying that some people acquire titles from unaccredited institutions in the country without earning them. Dr Nyarko expressed the worry that some accredited universities are now trying hard to give such titles unwarranted legitimacy.

He described the move as unlawful, as it is against Subsection 1 of the Tertiary Institutions Regulations 2010 (19), which stipulates that “an accredited institution shall not issue certificates or award its own degrees, diploma or honorary degree without a charter granted to it for that purpose by the President”.

Check honours

Dr Nyarko made these remarks when, together with his team from the NAB, he paid a courtesy call on the administration of the University of Ghana at Legon in Accra.

“We all know that honorary score sets are awarded to persons based on their specific contribution to society and we all support that; but the question is how it is done and those who are giving this award ... That is where we need to be critical and check,” he said.

“These titles are not to be used, especially prefixing it against your name. It can be on your CV, for example, in terms of accomplishments, but it should not be used by those who have been given this particular title,” he said.

Dr Nyarko emphasised the need for the system to be checked in order for such honours not to lose their value. He therefore sought collaboration from Ghana’s premier university so that steps can be taken to ensure that honorary doctoral titles are used appropriately.

Among other matters that the NAB head discussed with staff at Legon was verification of certificates held by faculties in the various tertiary institutions in Ghana.

Fairness

“If we are not thorough in terms of verifying credentials, whether those who are already in the system or those we are going to build, we are going to have faculties, moving forward, which might not have the requisite qualifications to ensure that we produce quality students,” he said.

Dr Nyarko’s remarks come as suspicions have been awakened about the number of dubious certificates in the system, after various educational institutions and business entities have made inquiries at the NAB about students or prospective employees.

“We want the collaboration of us all so that by next year we put in place an intervention where we can do proper auditing to weed out those who are unqualified,” Dr Nyarko said. He also hinted at a new ranking system for tertiary institutions in the country.

“I am thinking that, to promote competition and fairness, we should have a system that differentiates tertiary institutions in this country and that will be fair. But the question is how should it be done. This is something we should come together and brainstorm,” he said.

Face of a nation

In his contribution, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Oduro Owusu, said that before the rankings, it will be crucial that tertiary institutions in the country be classified.

“I maintain that it is not fair to treat us at the same level and it is time to classify the universities. It is done everywhere ... Every country has its top-notch university. Now when you come to Ghana and you ask, they will only tell you this is the premier university, but there is no classification in terms of remuneration,” he said.

He believes that, if this issue is not addressed, “Colleagues will leave the University of Ghana and other high-ranking universities to the upcoming universities and very soon we will lose our grace as a nation and will have no university to point to.

“We need to strengthen our universities, because the top-ranked universities are the face of this nation.”

On verification of certificates, Professor Owusu said that upon assuming office he had deliberated with colleagues about the matter. Currently Legon’s registry is in the process of verifying all certificates and institutions seeking accreditation from the school.

“I think it is laudable to have the Accreditation Board coming on full scale to do this verification,” Professor Owusu said. “I think it will help the system weed out all the unknowns and all the mischievous certificates that we have, not only in the educational field, but in the medical field as well.”