Lecturers exchanging grades for sex or money, manipulation of grades, lecturers forcing students to buy textbooks and handouts from them, leakage of exam papers, students being admitted through ‘protocol’– and the list goes on.
Almost everyone who has attended a tertiary institution has a tale to tell about what they saw or have heard about what goes on there. Not many universities, regardless of where they in the world they are, can claim, hand on heart to be squeaky clean.
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Wisconsin International University College found itself in such a situation last year when whistle-blowers brought to the attention of management that there were some malpractices taking place at the institution.
The Chancellor, Dr Paul Fynn, took the bold step of launching an investigation, using Anas Aremeyaw Anas’s outfit Tiger Eye PI to look into allegations of ‘grades selling’.
When the findings were presented to him by the PI team, he proceeded to dismiss those found to have been involved in these practices.
The action drew praise from the student body. On 25th June 2016, the National Association of Nigerian Students-Ghana(NANS-Ghana) presented Wisconsin’s Chancellor with an award for promoting quality education.
This is the first time the award has ever been presented to an individual by the Association, which has over 90,000 Nigerian student members across Ghana.
Outgoing NANS-Ghana president Katagum Muhammed said: “We decided to present the award to Dr Fynn for his meticulous service for promoting standard and quality education.
“When he received information about some of the malpractices taking place at the University, he did not fold his arms. He risked his reputation and the school’s reputation and did his best to root out any wrongdoing and promote quality.”
For his part, Dr Fynn said: “We are very pleased that the students appreciate and recognize what we are trying to do. The action we took is for their benefit and to protect the integrity of the certificates they get from the institution.”
It is this quest for integrity that led the Romanian Academic Society in 2007 to convene a group of students, education unions, journalists and others to form the Coalition for Clean Universities. Their goal – to create a ‘university integrity ranking’. In 2011, new regulations were brought in that brought about reform. Perhaps Ghana could do with such.
The bottom line is that for as long as tertiary institutions continue to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, corruption will continue to fester at universities to a point where qualifications become worth nothing more than the paper they are printed on.
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