Press Releases of Friday, 23 September 2011
Press Statement By The Institute Of Professional Studies (Ips), Legon
ASORE MAXWELL ABUGRE
1. INSTITUTE OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
2. THE HEAD, TECHNICAL EXAINATIONS UNIT
3. THE DIRECTOR GENERAL, GHANA EDUCATION SERVICE
Asore Maxwell Abugre was enrolled as a student of IPS in August, 2007 to pursue a three year Bachelor of Science in Marketing Degree programme. He secured admission into the Institute with a Diploma in Business Studies (DBS) results normally issued by the Technical Examinations Unit of the Ghana Education Service (GES).
POLICY ON VERIFICATION OF CERTIFICATES AND DOCUMENTS
The Institute of Professional Studies (IPS) has a policy on the verification of results slips and certificates, which applicants use to secure admission into the Institute. In accordance with this policy, the Institute sends certificates and other documents used by applicants to secure admission for authentication and confirmation by the institutions purported to have issued them. This exercise is carried out before the Institute issues certificates of graduating students to them. The objective of the verification policy is to prevent and discourage the use of fictitious and fraudulent documents to secure admission.
2009/2010 GRADUATING CLASS
During the 2009/2010 graduating year, IPS sent the certificates of all graduating students to the institutions that issued them for verification and confirmation. Two hundred and three ( 203) graduating students of that year had secured admission into IPS with certificates issued by the Technical Examinations Unit of the Ghana Education Service. On 28th February, 2011 IPS sent the certificates of these students including Mr. Asore Maxwell Abugre to the Technical Examinations Unit for verification and confirmation. On 1st April, 2011, the Technical Examinations Unit wrote to IPS confirming the authenticity of some of the certificates. The authenticity of the certificate which Mr. Asore Maxwell Abugre used to secure admission could not be confirmed by the Technical Examinations Unit. In the light of the response from the Technical Examinations Unit that it could not confirm the authenticity of the certificate used by Asore Maxwell Abugre to secure admission, the Academic Board of IPS drew the conclusion that the certificate was forged. Accordingly, the Board took a decision to withdraw Mr. Asore Maxwell Abugre’s Degree.
Aggrieved by the decision of the Academic Board, Mr. Asore Maxwell instructed his solicitors, Law Temple, to issue a law suit against both the Institute of Professional Studies and the Technical Examinations Unit seeking a number of reliefs including the reinstatement of his Degree. The suit was duly served on IPS. Thereupon, IPS referred the matter to one of its solicitors for advice. The solicitor advised that since the Technical Examinations Unit was added to the suit, the opportunity had arisen for the authenticity or otherwise of Asore’s certificate to be conclusively resolved. The solicitor further advised IPS to seek an out of court settlement with Mr. Asore Maxwell Abugre so that the suit would then be between Asore Maxwell Abugre and the Technical Examinations Unit. The position of IPS was that, it was not interested in withholding certificates of students it has educated and trained. At the same time, IPS has an obligation to ensure that students who use fraudulent documents to secure admission do not benefit from their conduct.
IPS withdrew Asore’s certificate because the Institution that purportedly issued him the certificate he used to secure admission wrote indicating that it could not confirm the authenticity of the certificate. In the view of IPS, the law suit against the Technical Examinations Unit would enable the issue to be resolved. If at the end of the litigation, it was established that the certificate was authentic, then IPS would have no choice but to reinstate the degree it withdrew.
A meeting was held between a representative of IPS and Asore Maxwell Abugre’s solicitors, Law Temple. It was agreed that the suit against the institute would be discontinued. Consequent upon this agreement, IPS did not find the need to respond to the law suit. IPS was surprised to hear that judgment had been obtained against it. The court ordered the reinstatement of the degree which IPS had withdrawn. IPS did not have issues with the re-instatement of the Degree. Consequently, an emergency Academic Board meeting was scheduled to reinstate the Degree it had previously withdrawn.
CORRESPONDENCE AND CONTEMP SUIT
While the Academic Board was yet to meet to take a decision to comply with the orders of the court, Mr. Asore Maxwell Abugre changed his solicitors. His new solicitors wrote a letter dated 29th August, 2011 to the IPS alleging that IPS was reluctant in complying with the orders of the court. In a letter dated 6th September, 2011, IPS responded to the solicitors’ letter indicating that the Academic Board was yet to meet to take a decision on the matter. IPS also indicated that certificates are normally printed in bulk. Consequently, Asore’s certificate would be printed together with those of the 2010/2011 graduating class. On receipt of the response from IPS, the new solicitors of Asore instituted contempt proceedings against the Registrar and the Rector alleging that they had wilfully refused to comply with the orders of the court. By the time the contempt proceedings were served on IPS, the Academic Board had already taken the decision to reinstate the Degree.
ENSURING STANDARDS AND RESPECTING HUMAN RIGHTS
IPS is an educational institution. Therefore, ensuring that individuals who seek admission to pursue its programmes use authentic documents is one of the obligations, which IPS has to discharge. At the same time, IPS is mindful of its moral and legal obligation to respect the rights and freedoms of individuals it deals with, including its students. Achieving both goals requires a very rigorous balancing act with respect to the interests involved. IPS concedes that the difficulty of the balancing act is no excuse for the abuse of the rights of individuals. At the same time, the difficulty of the task is a relevant factor to consider in coming to a conclusion as to whether a purported infringement of a right of an individual is malicious, premeditated or wilful.
IPS does not take pride and delight in embarrassing its students and infringing on their rights. IPS has nothing personal against Mr. Asore Maxwell Abugre. If the Technical Examinations Unit had confirmed the authenticity of the certificate it issued to him, IPS would have had no reason to withdraw his Degree. It is interesting to note that as at now, certificates which IPS sent to the Technical Examinations Unit for verification and confirmation in 2009 are yet to be confirmed. The question is, should IPS withhold or release the degrees of these students? As an educational institution, IPS feels obliged to contribute to ensuring high standards in the educational sector. One of the ways in which this contribution may be made is to scrutinise and authenticate certificates which applicants use for admission into IPS. If in doing so errors are committed, IPS is humble enough to admit its error but would take solace in the adage that, it is better to err on the side of caution.
REINSTATMENT OF ASORE MAXWELL ABUGRE’S DEGREE AND THE RULE OF LAW
IPS as an institution acknowledges the overriding value of the rule of law in the administration of public affairs. In this regard, IPS sees the courts as central institutions in upholding the rule of law. In the particular instance of this case, IPS feels obliged to respect the orders of the court to reinstate Asore Maxwell Abugre’s Degree. It is also important to note that, on the records of IPS official documentation from the Technical Examinations Unit indicates that the authenticity of Abugre’s certificate cannot be confirmed.
IPS wishes to thanks all tertiary institutions who called to express their solidarity on this issue. The IPS as a matter of principle appreciates and respects all students who passed through it, not only because they choose IPS as their place of study but also because they are worthy ambassadors. IPS therefore, thanks Mr. Asore Maxwell Abugre for the role he has played in initiating a discussion as to the mode of the certification of the Diploma in Business Studies (DBS) by the Technical Unit of the Ghana Education Service.
IPS believes that combining two different results from different sittings under one index number is not a best practice. There is, therefore, the need to reform the current practice of merging results from different sittings under the same index number to conform to international standards.