The Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, has revealed that the Ministry of Education is consulting with the National Council for Tertiary Education Education (NCTE) to consider D7 as acceptable pass mark for admission into any public university. This he revealed last Saturday, 26/10/19, during the 18th graduation and 28th matriculation of the Catholic University College Ghana (CUCG).
Counsellor Daniel Fenyi, an adjunct Lecturer with the University of Education, Winneba (UEW, IDeL), speaking on NEXT TV last Tuesday morning, 29/10/19, has raised some pertinent concerns whose clarification will inure to a better public appreciation of the issues eventhough he agrees that the new policy has some positivity, _”…government seeks to remove bottlenecks to admission processes and policies that are simply unjust, and discriminate against a majority of students from less endowed homes and institutions, where it is an exception than a rule, to get credit passes in all key subjects…”_ (in the Minister’s words).
Mr. Fenyi, however, calls on the policy makers and stakeholders to, non-partisanly, deliberate on the following concerns.
1. Currently, the average cut-off grade for university admissions is 36 (i.e. C6 in best six subjects). Under the new directive, a student with aggregate 40 and above could comfortably be granted admission into a university. Are we indirectly removing cut-off system at the university entry level just as we’ve done at the basic level? For example, a student who wants to pursue BA French can get Science-E8, English-C6, Maths-D7, Social-C6, Economics-E8, Literature-C6, French-C6, Goverment-D7 and still gain admission. Is this ideal?
2. Who determines the “relatedness” of a subject? The minister argues that D7 in subjects that are not “related” to a student’s dream course will be accepted. Who determines the “relatedness” of a subject? Is English Language a related course to BSc Mathematics, Accounting, Medicine, etc? If not, educate us on how the student will write thesis in final year and interact in the professional world upon graduation. Again, in all universities, there are courses called “General Courses”, these are not directly related to the programme the student is pursuing, e.g., a BA English student could study Public Administration, Management, Marketing, Statistics, etc in certain semesters. Help us to appreciate “unrelatedness” of a course in such context.
3. If you trust the quality of policies at the Basic and SHS Levels, why move pass mark from C6 to D7? It is a fact that there are many unfriendly quality-education policies running, e.g. Free SHS (the manner it’s operated), Double track system, no textbooks as of Week 8 in the academic calender, no repetition policy, etc. These have compromised quality hence the political quest to lower standards. The ‘shake’ in altering pass marks appears to be an evidence of ‘doubts’ in the Basic/SHS system. If the fundamentals are strong, there will be no need to lower standards.
4. Will the policy not collapse private universities as the private SHSs have collapsed?* When this policy is rolled out, over 70% of private university candidates will gain admission into public schools which will see almost all private schools collapse. The private universities, apart from offering alternative choices to students, offer employment to a vast number of teaching and non-teaching staff. The dereliction of the private sector in national discourse is fast becoming a worry and it’s high time we appreciated the contribution of the sector. After massive collapse of private SHSs, private Banks followed and now private Universities?