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General News of Sunday, 29 November 2020


All Nations President bemoans ‘endless mentorship’ of private universities

President of All Nations University Dr Samuel Donkor President of All Nations University Dr Samuel Donkor

President of All Nations University Dr Samuel Donkor says the endless mentorship programme for private universities by chartered public universities “is a pain and demotivates mentee institutions”.

Per a policy of National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the National Accreditation Board (NAB), private tertiary institutions are required to affiliate chartered State universities for mentoring.

The mentorship provides direction and tutorship to the new private universities to develop the appropriate systems and structures that enable them deliver on their mandate.

A private university college only qualifies to be granted institutional Charter after at least 10 years of affiliation and meeting all requirements to be autonomous.

The Council for Independent Universities (CIU) has called for a review of the current affiliation system of young universities imposed by the National Accreditation Board (NAB) stating that the rigidity of the current affiliation system is a major hindrance for creativity and imaginative activities.

Addressing the first graduation of All Nations University(ANU) after been granted Charter, on the theme “Mentorship and Institutional Development for Quality Higher Education in Ghana, Reasons and Purposes of Institutional Mentorship in Ghana” the President of ANU Dr Samuel Donkor tabled the proposal below to make academic mentorship mutually beneficial.

Below are part of the address of the ANU boss

Making Mentorship Mutually Beneficial

Based on ANU’s empirical knowledge of mentorship we would like to see a well-defined and robust mentorship programme that would be mutually beneficial to both mentor and mentee institutions. Because an endless mentorship programme is a pain and demotivates mentee institutions as it undermines trust in the mentorship programme. Therefore, I wish to put forward a framework for effective institutional mentorship programme based on our experience.

This institutional mentorship programme would be based on a trimester model. Each term could be between 3-5 years. Such a precise term of reference for the mentorship programme will imbue trust between both institutions.

1st Term of Trimester

A University College must be co-governed with the Mentor Institution. That is the Mentor Institution must send a senior person to the mentee institution to be part of the life of the institution. To sit on committees, in order to help put in place robust structures for institutional development. This is key to quality and effective mentorship.

Initially, ANUC became a beneficially of such an arrangement with Karunya University which sent two faculty members from India to be part of our institution. The positive impact and blessing cannot be described within the scope of this speech. It did eliminate guesswork, unproven methodologies and try and error based on inexperience on the part of the mentee institution.

This approach will definitely infuse quality into the fabric of the mentee institution and will guide their development process.

At the end of the first term of the trimester a comprehensive assessment should be done to ascertain the progress made before promotion to the second term.

2nd Term of Trimester

During the second trimester, there wouldn’t be the need for the Mentor Institution to have a presence on the Mentee Campus but periodic visits must be made to ensure that established guidelines and protocols are being followed and implemented.

Visitation will focus on areas such as the following:

-Review of Admissions
-Student welfare and extra curricula engagement
-Moderation of exam questions

-Regular visits to ensure compliance of guidelines.
-New programmes must be approved by mentor Institution before mentee institute can apply to NAB for accreditation.

At the end of the 2nd term of the trimester a comprehensive assessment should be done before promotion to the third and final trimester.

3rd Term of Trimester

This term should be characterised by limited supervision. The Mentee Institution should have the freedom to run the institution with minimal supervision. Is like a parent preparing his child to leave home to be on his own.

This critical period should be one of observation and guidance with involvement limited to three critical areas:

-Representation on the Academic Board

-Representation on the Governing Council

-Moderation of Examinations

With representatives on both academic board and governing council, mentee institute should be able to graduate students without the mentor Institute’s Academic Board repeating the entire process again. Mentee Institute should be able to promote members of faculty without mentor institution hijacking the process.

The mentee Institution should also have the liberty to introduce new programmes without the mandate of the mentor Institution’s approval before NAB accredits the programme.

The mentor Institution should invite the mentee Leadership team to some of their meetings as observers.

Finally, before the end of the final trimester a review should be conducted and if found to be ready mentee should be made to apply for a Charter.

Pathway to Chartership

The above proposal gives a clear pathway to chartership without the uncertainty of not knowing when a mentee Institute will ever satisfy the Mentor’s undefined standards in order to be recommended to apply for a charter.

This will communicate clarity and eliminate ambiguity in the mentoring process.

Since mentorship and institutional development for quality higher education in Ghana is pivotal for the socio-economic development of Ghana and Africa as a whole. It is imperative that all efforts must go into making the process as effective as possible.

Thus, making mentorship an effective institutional capacity building tool for quality higher education. Hence when chartership is achieved; the relationship between the two institutions would be on the basis of strategic partnership and cooperation. As there would be no legal basis to extend mentorship in any other form or capacity.