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Opinions of Saturday, 6 August 2016

Columnist: Amoah, Daniel

Open letter to the Minister of Education II

Dear Honorable Minister,

CC:
1. The Vice Chancellors, Ghana (VCG)
2. National Accreditation Board (NAB), Ghana
3. The Speaker of Parliament

RE: Tackling Fake Certificates in Ghana’s Public Universities: A Small Step But in the Right Direction…

On behalf of the Concerned University Professors (CUP), I write to thank you for taking a small but bold step at addressing the serious concerns raised in our previous open letter to you on academic fraud at some Public Universities in Ghana. The letter entitled “RE: The Final Nail in Ghana’s Coffin: The Ghana Accreditation Board and Abysmal Academic Standards” was published on Ghanaweb.com on March 21, 2016, under ‘opinions’, and myjoyonline.com on March 30, 2016. The Swiss Management Center (SMC), which gained notoriety in recent years for ‘successfully’ granting fake doctorate certificates to dozens of unsuspecting lecturers at the University of Professional Studies (UPS) and University of Cape Coast (UCC), among others, has been erased from the National Accreditation Board (NAB)’s website.
Honorable Minster, by defending the university-teacher profession that you selflessly served, you have earned our respect. A lot, however, remains to be done. The NAB, must not be absolved from the harm caused by the SMC, among others. The following are the reasons why:
1. The NAB, on its website, designated SMC as a ‘registered’ foreign institution, with its programs ‘under review’. This ambiguous classification may have misled unsuspecting individuals to pursue the doctorate program with the SMC. Moreover, it is plausible that the confusion was intentionally created, since the SMC is hosted by an institute (Omega Strategic Resources Limited, Accra) that is/was directed by a member of the NAB board.
2. The SMC originates from Switzerland BUT is not recognized/accredited in Switzerland or anywhere within the European Union (EU). As a result, it is required to go through the formal accreditation process in Ghana. The document ‘Roadmap to Accreditation’ on the NAB website states specifically that “The applicant institution shall have operated under the supervision of a mentoring institution for a minimum period of ten (10) years”. The SMC has not been mentored in Ghana for the required 10 years, hence does not satisfy the criteria for accreditation by the NAB in Ghana.
3. Our investigations have revealed that the claim that SMC as an Institute is accredited by one of the two main accrediting institutes in the USA called ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs) is false because ACBSP only register institutions that already have national or regional accreditation, which SMC does not have. It is also unthinkable that a program offered by an institute could be accredited, and allowed to run, if the institute offering the program is not accredited.
4. The NAB, which has the mandate to verify academic credentials, cannot claim ignorance for hiring SMC doctorate certificate holders to be its academic auditors for a number of years now. The academic auditors certify undergraduate and graduate degree programs and course contents across universities within the country. Given that MSC certificates are fake, one wonders the credibility of programs certified by Master’s degree holders parading as PhDs and Professors.
5. Since a member of the NAB board is the director of the institute that is hosting the SMC in Ghana, NAB cannot claim it does not know that SMC is in full operation in Ghana and granting fake Doctorate certificates.
6. The NAB cannot claim it granted accreditation to SMC knowing very well that no credible institution operating an online doctorate degree program will grant Doctorate certificates in less than 2 years (and most cases 1 year). In fact, it is alleged that some individuals obtain the SMC Doctorate certificate in 9 months! Residential doctorate programs last a minimum of 3 years. In Ghana, the minimum is 4 years for all programs in all the public Universities.
7. The credibility of the NAB is compromised because it willfully aided a member of its board to operate an unaccredited institution, and also by accepting certificates from such an institution for academic auditing jobs, which is critical.
The cancer of fake certification is very serious indeed! The recommendations in our previous open letter remain, and here they are:
1. Reconstitute the National Accreditation Board with immediate effect.
2. Setup a national institution that will be responsible for validating any certificate used to teach in any accredited university or tertiary institution in Ghana.
3. Revoke all certificates from SMC and all other unaccredited institutions.
As necessary steps are taken to repair the battered image of the NAB, we strongly recommend that, with immediate effect, you authorize NAB to come out with a public statement to disassociate itself from SMC. Just quietly erasing SMC from its website is not enough. The public should be made aware that SMC is not accredited. We understand that there are several individuals who have registered with SMC and are awaiting certificates. They deserve to know the facts.
The NAB should inform the general public and anyone holding SMC doctorate degree certificate and certificates from its ‘partner in crime’, Universidad Central de Nicaragua, that by erasing SMC from its website, it has admitted that SMC is unaccredited in Ghana, hence its certificates are NOT valid (are fake).
Again, thank you for heeding the call. Together we can make things better for this country that we so dearly love. We shall not rest until this problem goes way.
Best Regards,
Daniel Amoah (in the service of Ghana)
(On behalf of CUP, Email: CUP_Ghana@yahoo.com)