Opinion

The student’s ordeal with deception of unaccredited schools and program

The title of this article may seem strange or unclear to the unknown but to those who have gone through such experience, the mere sight of it sends shivers down their spine as Bob Marley said in his song “he who feels it, knows it”. Because it brings back memories of sleepless nights, pain and toil to achieve either a degree or masters only to be told after the program that they cannot have their certificate because the program pursued has no accreditation. Imagine the disappointment upon hearing this for a program which was sanctioned by a whole ministry and advertised in addition hence this few minutes spent on reading this article will save you from throwing away your thousands of Ghanaian cedis or benefit a relative or a friend equally from same.

As it said, the best form of gift to give a child in this contemporary world is education as opposed to the era where cocoa and other commercial plantations were given the topmost priority. It is not surprising why almost every parent commit every effort into educating their children for the promising future. So the introduction of free SHS by the NPP government buttresses the point that education is key in our human development.

However whiles some parents are painstakingly supporting their wards with their little resources on this mission, some schools have taken advantage of the situation. They will advertise and grant enrollment for aspiring graduates into programs the school authorities themselves know have no accreditation. Students upon completion would have to be waiting over years for their certificates; denied of job opportunities and carrier progression. Recounting some of the many challenges of these parents has to do with raising money to foot the various fees raised by the school from the beginning of enrollment till finish.

Some describe it as a lack of due diligence on the part of the students in verifying the school’s accreditation before applying. Supposing that is even correct, is fraud permitted by the laws of this country?. NO, so why must authorities allow such institutions to continue to perpetuate this act and take advantage of naive.
As the Bible puts it “For lack of knowledge my people perish” (Hosea 4:6), so knowledge acquisition in all field has become inevitable and the quest to acquire knowledge has led a lot of people especially the ambitious youth to be preyed by some universities across the globe of which Ghana is not an exception. There are other schools running advanced diploma, diploma and certificate programs that are involved in this act of swaying students with fake documents purporting to have acquired accreditation for the programs they run.  The blame is shifted to the students who pursued such programs for failure of verification.

Today I speak for the many who have gone through such experiences with lost hope for employment and carrier progression. Must such affected students go on demonstration, picketing or seek legal redress before an institution will wake up to do what it is supposed to? And why must these institutions seek to victimize such students for asking for what they qualify for and have earned after failed attempts in engaging appropriate authorities like National Accreditation Board. What law is available to protect such individuals?

It has become the norm of the day that thousands of applicants would be invited for admission interview as would happen in job interviews and at the long run just a hand full is selected. The interview board are obviously aware of the number to be offered admission but would blindly explore the gains to be made out of the many through interview fees.Who cares about the distance one has travelled to the interview centre and the associated risk borne by these applicants, there is no regulation that protects this vulnerable group.

I have interacted with several students with shattered dreams after being denied of their certificate after successful completion of various disciplines at some universities and colleges. What would they use in job application or to even further studies, was a question posed which I couldn’t answer. What names should their parents and friends call them, graduate without a certificate? Should we also label their parents investment on these students wasted?

Verification is paramount but let us also remember that it not every parent that is enlightened or literate. I have also witnessed a diploma awarding private registered Community Health Training School closed down and converted to a herbal processing factory by the owner, after students were in second year and almost completing. What became of the students no one really cares. Repeating the question, “what structures are there to protect these disappointed ones?. I suggest National Accreditation Board should be proactive and not the opposite in protecting these students and more importantly clamp such universities and colleges running programs without accreditation.

As a country we should be interested in the welfare of the younger generation. That being said I appeal to our law makers to pass a law which will protect prospective students from such fraud. The national accreditation board(NAB) should ensure closure of unaccredited institutions.  Furthermore if possible admission letters coming from every university must have a seal from the NAB to indicate their approval of the program offered. Absence of this seal will indicate otherwise based on the standard which will be set.

To those who are now seeking for admissions, be advised that you will need to look out for two criteria, the first being to verify if the school has been given institutional accreditation to run such program and secondly to very whether the program has also been accredited by the NAB and any other relevant agency e.g. Medical and Dental Council(MDC), Nurses and Midwives Council(NMC), Pharmacy Council (PC) etc. Without these indicators save your money and look elsewhere. Thanks for reading this piece and I wish all students a safe verified program.

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