Media houses to get 15 years imprisonment for advertising unaccredited programmes—Education Commission

By Kodjo Adams

Accra, May 30, GNA – Media houses, under the Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020 (Act 1023), which advertise unaccredited tertiary education institutions will face imprisonment of not less than 15 years, the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) has said.

The Commission said it would soon publish the names of universities and media houses that advertise unaccredited tertiary programmes.

The Commission advised the public to visit its website, to check the accreditation status of tertiary institutions before applying to universities.

Professor Ahmed Jinapor Abdulai, the Deputy Director General, GTEC, said this on Tuesday during a media interaction on the advertisement of unaccredited programmes of tertiary institutions in the country.

The Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020 (Act 1023), mandates the Commission to take legal action against any media house that publishes or advertises unaccredited programmes or institutions from tertiary education institutions.

Section 36(1)(h) of Act 1023 provides that: “A person or any institution that advertises a tertiary education institution or a tertiary education programme that is not accredited commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 10,000 penalty units and not more than 20,000 penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years and not more than 20 years or to both.

On the running of unaccredited programmes by the tertiary education institution, the Professor said the Act stated that: “A tertiary education institution shall not operate or run a programme without accreditation by the board.”

He explained that before an institution could run as a tertiary institution in the country, it must have gone through some accreditation processes and be granted approval to operate by the Board of the Commission.

The Deputy Director-General advised tertiary institutions to adhere to the provisions of the Act to avoid punishment, adding that the Commission would “crack the whip” on any media or university found culpable.

The Auditor General’s report for 2021 revealed that over 600 academic programmes at the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) were not accredited in 2021.

A total of 374 academic programmes at the University of Ghana were unaccredited and 299 programmes at KNUST were also not accredited.

He said based on the report, the University of Ghana in 2022, had increased its accreditation status to 129.8 per cent, KNUST improved to 118.5 per cent and the University of Cape Coast moved to 41.9 per cent.

Prof Abdulai stated that the Commission would work assiduously to ensure zero tolerance for non-accredited programmes in tertiary institutions.

“The public needs to be cautious as to what kind of programmes to offer and that you cannot be admitted to any tertiary institutions without passing English, Mathematics and Science,” he added.

He expressed concerns about institutions using the premises of Senior High Schools and Junior High Schools for distance education, which was against the infrastructure requirements of tertiary institutions.

Prof Abdulai advised parents to do due diligence in choosing tertiary institutions for their wards, stating that the aim of the Commission was to ensure quality assurance and value for money for its stakeholders.

“We are interested in quality, not quantity, and ensuring that tertiary education delivered is worthy of emulation in West Africa,” he said.