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49 Years of Affiliation: Do Colleges of Education need Autonomy, Absorption or Continuous Affiliation?

File Photo – Enchi College of Education main entrance

1. In 1972, all the Colleges of Education in the country, then Teacher Training Colleges, were put under the supervision and mentorship of the University of Cape Coast (UCC). This is after the colleges had gone through a lot of transformations since its inception in the 50s. UCC, which, at the time, was the only Teacher Education University in Ghana, had the mandate to supervise, direct and guide all Teacher Education training programmes and activities, in the Colleges.

2. Historically, the concept of “affiliation” is not new in tertiary education in Ghana. Every new tertiary institution, by default, goes through affiliation, where it is mentored by an experienced, already-existing tertiary institution. This “guardian” institution is expected to mentor and guide the new one for sometime till later, when, the new one is granted a charter and have had its programmes approved and accredited by the National Accreditation Board (NAB).

3. For example, when the University of Ghana was first established in 1948, it was affiliated to the University of London until about 1960 when it was granted autonomy to award its own degrees. Similar history applies to KNUST which was also affiliated to the University of London. The University of Cape Coast itself, when it was first established in 1962, was affiliated to the University of Ghana until about 1970 when it got autonomy. UEW, then UCEW, was equally affiliated to UCC.

File photo – University of Ghana Signs MoU with Three Affiliate Colleges of Education

4. Currently, with the exception of Ashesi, Pentecost, Central and Valley View Universities which have got autonomy from their affiliated Universities, all Private Universities in the country are affiliated to various public universities. These are all evidences that point to the fact that the concept of affiliation is not new in tertiary education in Ghana.

5. It is on this premise that the “affiliation” of Colleges is not a thing to worry about. It’s very normal and natural. It must be noted that all the Colleges were initially affiliated to only UCC, from 1972 to 2017. UCC, serving as the “mother” institution, has seen the Colleges through periods from the awarding of Teacher Cert A to Diploma certificates and would actually pioneer the awarding of degree certificates in 2022/23. These are all serious transformation periods which saw UCC play very significant roles. However, in 2018, the Ministry of Education, together with stakeholders, as part of a holistic transformation and “tertiarisation” of the Colleges, shared the existing 48 Colleges of Education in affiliation among five Universities- UCC, UEW, UG, UDS and KNUST.

7. Cumulatively, the Colleges have since been in affiliation for 49 years- a whooping half century. It warps logic to have an institution stay in affiliation for half a century. It looks as though there’s a conscious effort to stifle the growth of Colleges, in the name of affiliation. It must surprise every objective imagination that, after 49 good years of existing in the “shadows” of universities, the Colleges of Education are still not considered nurtured and mentored long enough to be independent and worthy of authorising their own certificates.

8. The need for the Colleges of Education to be independent and upgraded to a proper tertiary status (with everything that comes with it) has become inevitable. If the management and tutors of the Colleges can be trusted to handle Degree curricula and teach degree contents (as it’s done now), why can’t they be trusted to issue degree certificates? How difficult is it for the one who prepared the food to be capacitated to dish the food out too? This article is a call on reasoning heads to have a (re) look at the affiliation system of the Colleges and the general “autonomisation” of same.

9. Not to compare, though objective comparisons serve as solid bedrocks for intellectual intercourses, it cannot be disputed that some Colleges have built for themselves solid brands whose certificates can compete, in reputation and recognition, with some existing universities. Take, for example, Colleges like Foso, Komenda, OLA, Holy Child, Tamale, Enchi, Accra, SDA, Wesley, Mampong, and several others which lack of space would not permit mentioning, their brands can compete many universities. Why then are they subsumed merely in the “shadows” of other institutions, in the name of affiliation, and not trust that, after 49 good years of affiliation and menteeship, they are matured and prepared enough to dish out degree certificates, just as they are already dishing out degree curricula, tuition and training?

10. Now, the Question Remains! After 49 good years of affiliation, do Colleges of Education need a complete autonomy or full absorption (into their affiliated university as satellite campuses) or a continuous affiliation?? I’ll leave the answer to PRINCOF, CETAG, TTAG, T-TEL, GTEC and the Ministry of Education. And only hope that, they’ll be guided by goodwill, clear conscience, the bright future prospects of the Colleges and the rather long historical journey of the Colleges, as they provide an answer to the question.

Counsellor Daniel Fenyi

Tutor, Enchi College of Education

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