Quality doctoral programmes are very important for improvement


Ghana’s National Accreditation Board was established in 1993 by the federal government of Ghana for 4 main functions.

One is giving official high quality approval to each private and non-private tertiary training establishments by way of curricula content material and requirements of educational programmes.

Two, it always screens tertiary training establishments to make sure compliance with normative requirements and ethics of organisation, governance, tutorial and administrative management.

Three, it ensures that training establishments fulfill acceptable requirements in bodily services corresponding to school rooms, laboratories, tutorial {and professional} staffing.

Four, it determines the equivalence of levels, diplomas and certificates awarded by establishments inside and out of doors Ghana.

Should Ghana’s National Accreditation Board (NAB) additionally consider the standard of doctoral diploma programmes in Ghanaian universities? Such analysis capabilities undoubtedly fall throughout the orbit of NAB’s authorized function as state exterior high quality assurance company.

The want for these analysis capabilities arises from the statistical incontrovertible fact that doctoral diploma enrolment and commencement from Ghanaian universities are growing steadily.

According to tertiary training statistics printed by NAB, within the tutorial years between 2011-12 and 2015-16, doctoral diploma enrolment in public universities averaged about 900 college students. At personal universities the quantity was 39 for 2014-15 and 85 for 2015-16. The whole doctoral diploma output of public universities for 2012-13 was 65 college students in comparison with 1,854 college students for 2014-15.

Given all these statistics, one begins to ask whether or not the colleges producing these graduates complied with any extra high quality assurance requirements past these of their unique accreditation.

If they did, what high quality assurance requirements are relevant to doctoral programmes or universities providing doctoral programmes in Ghana?

These questions are important in that researchers have asserted that few analysis techniques and high quality management mechanisms are in place in African international locations to make sure the standard of doctorates awarded by universities.

In addition, the doctorate title confers a number of social respectability and honour in Ghana. The motive is that those that attain a doctoral diploma are thought to be having reached the best summit of the data pyramid.

It is believed {that a} journey to the highest of the data pyramid is marked by singular self-discipline, fortitude and self-sacrifice in addition to accumulating data. That is why NAB ought to take acceptable measures to guard the integrity of doctoral programmes supplied in Ghana.

What occurs elsewhere?

In plenty of international locations throughout the globe, accreditation of doctoral programmes is considerably completely different from that of undergraduate and graduate programmes.

Consequently, in some jurisdictions, two or three universities mix their sources to supply joint doctoral diploma programmes, whereas others strategically think about providing one or two accredited doctoral diploma programmes in keeping with their capability.

Nevertheless, it’s open data that NAB has listed on its web site the names of eight establishments that provide doctoral diploma programmes although they’re unaccredited.

These establishments supply doctoral diploma programmes although they hardly supply any credible masters diploma programmes. Meanwhile, the NAB characteristically continues to bark at them like a toothless bulldog, so to talk, whereas the establishments function with sheer impunity.

In truth, leaders of these unaccredited establishments are totally conscious that traditionally the NAB has demonstrated that it doesn’t have any enforcement enamel to shut down establishments which have flouted its insurance policies or rules.

The NAB should make sure that Ghanaian universities supply high quality designed doctoral programmes, delivered by high quality college for high quality college students. Quality on this context is conceptualised as ‘fit for purpose’ with regard to tutorial, skilled and industrial profession pathways. Overall, doctoral diploma programmes ought to contribute to Ghana’s improvement efforts and priorities.

Quality of school members

Normally, the college members of a college who ship doctoral seminars, supervise doctoral theses and serve on doctoral thesis committees are consultants of their chosen fields of specialisation. ‘Experts’ right here implies those that have a monitor document of analysis, assorted skilled experiences, are famend nationally or internationally as practitioners in a particular area or have made impactful contributions to their domains of experience.

Certainly, high quality college members are holders of doctoral, PhD or skilled levels. However, a college whose college members are intellectually inactive, haven’t made or don’t make any contributions to their specialised area, don’t represent high quality college even when they possess doctoral levels. Indeed, Ghanaian universities with no cadre of high quality college must be disqualified from working doctoral programmes.

Quality of scholars

Students admitted onto doctoral programmes ought to have ample tutorial or skilled preparation. Adequate tutorial preparation could possibly be verified by tutorial data in addition to initiatives designed and executed by the candidates. Sufficient skilled preparation or expertise is also checked by the references or résumés that candidates present.

In brief, high quality college students are decided by the character, expectations and outcomes of doctoral programmes. For occasion, whether it is an expectation that graduates from a doctorate programme in enterprise administration ought to have the ability to make data-informed selections, potential college students must be anticipated to offer documentary proof of fundamental data of statistics, together with rudimentary data and expertise in strategies of knowledge assortment.

Quality of doctoral programme design

A high quality doctoral programme is one designed in line with labour market details about precise or potential profession alternatives out there for individuals with doctorates.

Simply put, what sort of careers can be found now or will probably be out there within the close to future for doctoral college students after completion of their programmes of research? What talent units, data and tendencies are required for these careers?

Doctoral programmes should have a transparent mission, expectations, outcomes, course construction, commencement and admission necessities.

Elements of those embrace, however aren’t restricted to: pupil entry to reference useful resource supplies, analysis instruments and databases; improvement of superior analysis expertise within the specialisation they’re in, culminating in an unique, substantive analysis challenge; acquisition of strategies for speaking and presenting analysis methodology and findings to numerous audiences; acceptable preparation for a profession in academia, trade, authorities and group; and a funding technique to help the programme for the anticipated size of research of all college students.

Any college that has doctoral programmes should have well-resourced libraries and laboratories the place doctoral college students may entry literature (exhausting copies or on-line), seek for points and traits in a area, conduct analysis and sharpen their perception. A college that doesn’t have such services must be disqualified from providing doctoral programmes.

All doctoral programmes should hone college students’ superior analysis expertise. Those analysis expertise will probably be utilized not solely when finishing course assignments but in addition when conducting thesis analysis that contributes considerably to college students’ chosen fields.

In growing superior analysis expertise, doctoral college students domesticate problem-framing expertise, the power to conduct literature evaluations (together with print, photographic, audio and video sources), acquire information, conduct information evaluation and talk their findings. While these are a broad vary of expertise and data, their software and usefulness lower throughout each sector of society.

In a growing nation corresponding to Ghana, analysis audiences are extra various of their academic backgrounds. Thus, this can be very essential that doctoral college students learn to tailor the communication and presentation of their analysis to the wants of various audiences.

They want to have the ability to summarise or clarify technical or theoretical ideas whereas preserving the integrity of the principle themes of their analysis methodology and findings.

Consequently, a doctoral programme should supply at the least two superior seminar programs in analysis concept and observe. The programs have to be taught by practising researchers who’re educated concerning the issues, challenges, alternatives and limitations of their fields.

A college that doesn’t have such course choices taught by practising or skilled researchers is just not able to run doctoral programmes.

Furthermore, doctoral candidates ought to have entry to tutorial help and counselling which reinforces their consciousness of the potential software of their analysis throughout completely different sectors of society and develops a deeper understanding of scholars’ private strengths, pursuits and profession objectives.

In different phrases, each doctoral pupil should have an skilled tutorial advisor.

A latest South African analysis research has highlighted the significance of doctoral advising or supervising in relation to the standard of doctoral programmes. Indeed, it has been repeatedly noticed that doctoral advising or supervising performs a central function in getting ready doctoral candidates to contribute to analysis and society.

More particularly, some South African researchers have acknowledged that doctoral college students want vital help in analysis methodology, tutorial writing and data of concept. Thus, a college that doesn’t have the sources or capability, both as a result of their college members are overloaded or overworked, to offer entry to individualised doctoral advising/supervising must be ineligible to supply doctoral programmes.

Financial help

Finally, a doctoral programme ought to present full or partial monetary help for college kids till they end. At current, a majority of doctoral college students are compelled to depend on private financial savings and monetary help from relations to fund their research. This places monumental strain on college students, particularly these from impoverished households, hindering them from concentrating on their research. This is a disincentive to potential doctoral college students.

Although this case could also be seen solely as an fairness concern, it is usually palpably a improvement concern in that Ghana wants a group of researchers in and out of doors of academia to create data to resolve the myriad issues plaguing its improvement.

A doctoral programme should, as a matter of urgency, embrace a funding technique, whether or not it’s partial scholarship, a waiver of tuition charges, tender loans, monetary grants or instructing assistantships.

As the NAB statistics on tertiary training present, all doctoral programmes in Ghana are supplied on a full-time foundation. This suggests {that a} funding technique is a vital a part of doctoral programmes.

National improvement

It is noteworthy that sure accredited establishments do not need high quality college, monetary and the fabric sources to function doctoral programmes; though such establishments might have the capability to run undergraduate or masters programmes.

This applies to each private and non-private universities. That is as a result of some private and non-private universities, from our analysis, shouldn’t be allowed to supply any doctoral diploma programmes.

Doctoral programmes require a separate, vigorous accreditation course of to make sure their high quality and integrity. The NAB ought to develop and put in place a framework of doctoral training in Ghana to offer pointers for universities that intend to supply PhD programmes. At the identical time, some components of the framework could possibly be used for accrediting doctoral programmes.

Universities whose doctoral programmes fall in need of the doctoral accreditation standards must be allowed a grace interval of 1 yr to right any anomalies. However, a college that fails to right any detected anomalies in its doctoral programme throughout the grace interval should have its programme closed down instantly.

Moreover, a evaluate of doctoral programmes must be carried out each three years with the intention to preserve high quality and safeguard their integrity. Failure to take action results in poor doctoral diploma programmes with none actual public or personal profit.

As African greater training consultants agree, doctoral diploma programmes ought to by no means be designed as simply an avenue for mental curiosity or as an emblem of social honour. Rather, they need to be used as a instrument for addressing important features of African nationwide improvement.

Fidelia Fredua-Kwarteng works in authorities in Canada, as a senior programme advisor. Eric Fredua-Kwarteng is a coverage marketing consultant in Canada.

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