A Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, has called for a national discussion on the accepted cutoff grades for enrollments into tertiary institutions in Ghana.
Prof. Yankah, who has a long held view that persons with grades D7 and E8 should be accepted to Ghanaian universities insist that such grades do not connote failure.
“We have for several years now been deluding ourselves into thinking that below A1 to C6 – that is those who get D7 and E8—are not qualified to enter into the university. I think we should begin revising our ideas. In countries like Britain, USA, it is individual universities that determine the cutoff point not the government.”
“I think we should table the whole idea about who qualifies to enter into the university. There is a huge number of boys selling dog chains and iced water on the streets who could be in the university. But we have imposed on ourselves that they have failed. I’m not talking about those who get F9, call them failure if you want to, but D7 and E8, these are not fail grades. We should bring the topic back as a national debate,” prof. Yankah said in an interview on Monday.
When asked whether he was making such a call because some private universities struggle to admit qualified students Prof. Yankah said “absolutely no.”
Prof. Yankah also explained that, although he is in government, he cannot bulldoze his way through because it could create some uproar in the country.
“I don’t want to make a pronouncement on it. There has to be a shared national consensus on it. Let me come tomorrow and say D7 is now accepted and there will be a whole hullabaloo on it,” he added.
Public Universities in Ghana are not permitted to accept students who had below grade C6 in any of the subjects from the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Whereas some believe grades below A6 – C6 especially D7 and E8 do not mean fail [F9], others argue that accepting such grades would mean lowering standards for university education.
At the St Vincent College of Education in Yendi in the Northern some two weeks ago, over 70 students of the college were asked to go home for using grade D7 they had in English, Mathematics and Science to gain admission.
According to the school, the decision was taken following a directive from the Executive Secretary for the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE).
The letter signed by the Principal of the College, Erasmus Nario Multi said the decision was reached at, during a meeting with principals of public colleges of education “called at the instance of the Minister for Education [Matthew Opoku Prempeh].”
The letter said at the meeting “it was resolved that all unqualified students must be withdrawn from the colleges forthwith.”
“…We have been formally instructed… to withdraw all unqualified students who do not meet the current minimum entry requirements into public colleges of education. It is in line with this directive that we the management of St Vincent College of Education, Yendi are writing to formally inform you that your ward/student….whose submitted grades do not meet the current criterion of entry into a public college of education is withdrawn from the college forthwith,” the letter addressed to one of the affected students added.