A Daily Graphic scoop last Thursday broke the sad news of over 30,000 students who were successful in the 2014 West Africa Senior Certificate Examination not being able to gain admission into the public universities for the 2014/2015 academic year.
The reason, rather bizarrely, if the story is to be believed, is not because of the usual students’ inability to attain the requisite cut-off points but because two universities chose to close the admission process even before the May-June 2014 WASSCE was written.
Reportedly, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, and the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Cape Coast closed the submission of applications by qualified candidates for admission for the 2014/2015 academic year on April 11 and April 30, 2014 respectively.
Deputy Minister of Education (Tertiary) Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, who was interviewed for the story, happily confirmed the anomalous situation, quoting KNUST and UCC as having explained that “per their programmes it was too late for them to entertain new applications, at the time the results were released.”
This is in spite of assurances given by the Ministry of Education earlier this year that “candidates will not be denied admission to public universities of their choice, explaining that all public universities were supposed to reserve quotas” for those who were to write the WASSCE this year.
And as The Chronicle and most Ghanaians are aware, it is in recognition of these “reserved quotas” that the university admission application form has a section for results that are being awaited.
So what does Okudzeto-Ablakwa mean by: ‘“Moving forward we want to have an arrangement between the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the universities so that this does not recur, because government’s policy is that immediately you finish, you should be able to transit to the next level once you have met the entry requirements,“ Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa said.”?
In case Deputy Minister Okudzeto-Ablakwa has forgotten so soon, The Chronicle reminds him that such an arrangement ALREADY EXISTS. And he should, therefore, address himself to the issue properly.
That is why January-February every year, those who are sure of their qualification for university admission as well as those about to write WASSCE that year buy university admission forms, fill them, indicating their statuses and submit them before the application closes.
And it is also the reason why every year WAEC forwards the WASSCE results directly to the public universities immediately they are released so that they could check and offer admission to those applicants who had earlier indicated in their applications to them that they were awaiting results.
If the Universities of Ghana, Legon; Development Studies, Tamale; Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, and Education, Winneba, are still obeying this time-honoured national arrangement and are offering admissions to qualified applicants, based on the 2014 WASSCE results, what gives the KNUST and UCC authorities the audacity to deny 30,000 such candidates the opportunity to attain “affordable” tertiary education?
The Chronicle is appalled that the Ministry of Education, instead of reading the Riot Act and calling KNUST and UCC to order, it is rather clapping and urging them on, and advocating an unnecessary “arrangement, moving forward”. Moving forward to where? We are rather retrogressing!
The KNUST and UCC Governing Councils have a responsibility to call the Vice-Chancellors and their assistants to order. They cannot be permitted to frustrate a system that that has worked smoothly for decades.
They have absolutely no right to condemn qualified students to a year of idleness at home just to suit their own parochial convenience. Are the authorities of the two institutions aware that they could be accused, justifiably or not, of moonlighting for the private universities?
If public universities want the autonomy granted them upheld without interference, then they must always work for the highest good of the people. If we cannot offer multiple admissions every year, as done in other jurisdictions, we owe a duty to Mother Ghana to ensure that as many as qualify each year get admitted.
That is non-negotiable. Not ever!
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