Author: Bingab, Bernard B.B. and Forson, Joseph Ato and Mmbali, Oscar S. and Baah-Ennumh, Theresa Yabaa
Affiliate organization: MPRA
Publication Type: scientific article
Date of publication: 2015
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the idea of ‘good governance’ is given different meanings by different organizations, but is generally characterized as referring to participation, accountability, predictability, and transparency (OECD, 2004).
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) refers to good governance as ‘not only ridding societies of corruption but also giving people the rights, the means, and the capacity to participate in the decisions that affect their lives and to hold their governments accountable for what they do (UNDP, 1997).
It means fair and just democratic governance. It is an open secret to say that bad governance is among the major barriers to economic development and social well-being in the developing world (Castañeda, 2009; Forson, 2013; Forson et al., 2015; Kurtz & Schrank, 2007; Wolf, 2005).
On the contrary, the belief that good governance promotes growth and development is all but completely indisputable (Kaufmann, 2004) irrespective of how subjective the term ‘good governance’ might mean. While to determine growth, it can be measured in a rather straightforward fashion, good governance on the other hand is much more problematic (Kurtz & Schrank, 2007).
No wonder in granting many development aid, good governance is a pre-condition (see Forson et al., 2015). Governance could also be the agreed form, structure and processes through which universities make decisions and act (Tierney & Lechuga, 2004).
In this regard, governance is neither centered on an individual nor a single organization. However, for effective and efficient governance, there must always be leaders around the institutions or organizations who seek to make governance coordination meaningful to the extent that they will be accountable to the people they govern.
A governance system that is effective and efficient means and implies good governance. Governance, according to Bovaird and Löffler (2003) is the ways in which stakeholders interact with each other in order to influence the outcomes of policies for the public.
By ‘good governance’, Bovaird and Löffler (2003) meant the negotiation by all the stakeholders in an issue of improved public policy outcomes and agreed governance principles, which are both implemented and regularly evaluated by all stakeholders. Unambiguously, the manner in which power or authority is exercised in organizations in resource allocation and management can also be university governance.
It involves the enactment of policies, procedures for decisionmaking, for organizational effectiveness (Carnegie & Tuck, 2010) and using the university’s laid down structure, and overall organizational coherence is governance (Considine, 2004).
Therefore, University Governance Issues (UGI) refers to matters surrounding the governance of a university that have a direct effective (positively or negatively) on the quality of output of the university. These issues may include among other things conventional indicators of governance plus any important topic or problem for debate or discussion that profoundly affects the running of the university.
Hence, the research sought to explore the existing governance issues to infer the extent to which these issues might have impacted on the quality of outputs from the three Ghanaian Universities. The relationship between education, governance, and public policy is two way: (1) economic development of a nation depends on the human capital produced by the education system of that nation and (2) public spending and management of the education system is crucial to the welfare of the nation.
Changes in this relationship generate public concerns about university governance and its implications to national development. Governance of the university requires that the university leadership defend academic freedom, encourage shared governance, promote accountability, ensure meritocracy in selection and strive for excellence (Bloom & Rosovsky, 2010).
So, to look at governance means, an overview of the processes and the outcomes. That is the more reason why in the university system, it is not just your certificates that are important, but also the transcripts that come with those certificates. In the same vein, university education should not just end at transcripts and certificates, but also the impacts that the holders of such certificates have on communities they find themselves and the society at large.
Effective and efficient university governance therefore must not just be what happens on the university campus but what also happens in the outside world with the university’s graduates.
The challenge however is that, universities might be able to control the outputs but might not be in the position to determine the outcomes as Bovaird and Löffler (2003) put it; outcomes are often contingent on factors outside the direct control of the agency responsible for delivering particular outputs.
Whiles ‘good governance’ is still very much a contested area, such that measures of ‘good governance’ are used in widely different ways in different contexts around the world, it is important to also say that there is now widespread international and local interest in measuring not only the quality of services but also improvements in quality of life, both overall and in specific dimensions (Bovaird & Löffler, 2003).
In that regard, universities must also take serious interest in how the lives of their products (graduates) are improved upon and not just on the fact that they have turned out huge numbers from their departments, faculties or institutions. Ghana has an educational system that can be grouped into three main categories: Basic, Secondary and Tertiary.
According to Ministry of Education (2012), there are 36,692 basic schools, 515 schools at the secondary level and 136 at the tertiary level made up of Public Universities/university colleges; Public Specialized/Professional Colleges; Chartered Private Tertiary Institutions; Private Tertiary Institutions; Polytechnics; Public Colleges of Education; Private Colleges of Education; Public Nursing Training Colleges and Private Nursing Training Colleges. Figure 1 is the pictorial representation of the categories with their respective components.
Basic Education Basic Education is the beginning of formal education in Ghana just like the rest of the world. It consists of three stages of Pre-School, Primary School and Junior High School. It is free and compulsory and starts with preschool for 2 years with a 4-year old child after which the child proceeds to primary school at age 6 for 6 years.
It is expected that at age 13 the child enters Junior High School (JHS) for 3 years and so 4 years old before preschool, 2 years of pre-school, 6 years of primary school and 3 years of Junior High School. Basic education therefore takes the form 2-6-3 years of education. Which means, by the time, a child completes basic school; the child will be about 15 years old.
A key component of the national reform agenda has been on the country’s educational system. Notable among is the tertiary education reforms of 1991 which sought to improve upon educational access, relevance and quality so as to speed up the developmental agenda of the country
Secondary Education Secondary education is composed of Senior High Schools (SHS), Commercial Schools, Secondary Technical or Vocational Schools of 3 years each depending on the one the JHS graduate offers to purse. Table 1.2 provides the enrolment at the Secondary education level for 2011/12 and 2012/13 academic years with an increase of 12% growth rate.
All things being equal, the percentage increase in gross enrolment both at the basic and secondary levels compared to the annual population growth of 2.1% (Ghana Statitistical Service, 2014) indicates that the progress is commendable.
Tertiary Education Tertiary Education is made of Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Nursing Colleges and Professional Institutions. Bachelor degrees in universities are usually 4 years, Polytechnics Higher National Diplomas 3 years, Colleges of Education and Nursing Colleges 3 years each and the professional institutions vary depending on the programme of study.
As captured from the beginning, the focus of this study is on university governance and therefore focuses on the university component of the tertiary education in Ghana. It is important to mention that Figure 1 represents the current educational categories as at 2014; meaning it includes the reforms of the Anamuah-Mensah Presidential Commission report of 2002.
A key component of the national reform agenda has been on the country’s educational system. Notable among is the tertiary education reforms of 1991 which sought to improve upon educational access, relevance and quality so as to speed up the developmental agenda of the country.
These broad programmes and policies are multi-sectorial with the main aim of reducing poverty to the barest minimum and generally to improve the lives of every citizenry through the provision of relevant knowledge and skills.
Under these strategic programmes, some gains have been made towards the realization of macroeconomic stability and the achievement of poverty reduction goals. Ghana has moved more quickly than she had envisaged in terms of her economic performance though much is yet to be done.
For instance, the plan target of becoming a middle-income country by 2020 was achieved 14 years in advance (2008) with GDP per capita (PPP) of $3,300 in 2012. As defined, a country with a per capita income of more than $976 a year is a middle-income country and Ghana’s was $1,318.36.
Ghana’s economy has maintained commendable growth trajectory with an average annual growth of about 9.0% over the past five years until 2013 (AfDB et al., 2014) and was the world is fastest growing economy in 2011.
Historical Account of University Education
Governance System in Ghana University education started in Ghana in 1948 with the setting up of University College of Gold Coast under the mentorship of University of London.
Even though university education dated back to the days of Achimota School, “it is not officially regarded as university education because this only provided training of pre-first year university courses”.
Indeed the fact that the “British colonial government set up the Asquith Commission, in 1943” to investigate higher education and determine where they could set up a university for British Colonies in West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Gambia) gives the testimony that there was no formal university education in Ghana until 1948.
Governance System in Ghana University education started in Ghana in 1948 with the setting up of University College of Gold Coast under the mentorship of University of London
Prior to the setting up of the University College of Gold Coast, the British colonial administration approved a minority report of a Commission which recommended that the University for the British Colonists in West Africa be set up in Ibadan, Nigeria.
Unfortunately or fortunately, a group of elites in Gold Coast (now Ghana) disagreed with this report and subsequently petitioned the British authorities. But certain celebrities in Ghana including Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah (J. B. Danquah) and Kwabena Sakyi, a prominent lawyer in those days decided they wanted a university in Ghana.
(Former Executive Secretary, NCTE 1) So they put up another proposal and this was accepted provided the university was to be funded by the colony itself. So the concept of self-financing of university education started as far back as 1948 even though, the research cannot confirm if indeed funding the University College of Gold Coast was entirely taken care of by the colony and if it was, how it raised the funds cannot also be determined.
Accept to say that at least the first ten batches of the university college were not only provided with free luxury accommodation and given allowances, but were also provided with meals as former executive secretary, NCTE 1 who was a student from 1956 to 1959 put it: I went to university college of Ghana, now Legon in 1956. We were actually the first people to go into commonwealth hall.
Commonwealth hall was built for 300 students each one occupying one cubicle bigger than this office, but at that time there were only 53 students in the hall. At dinning we were served on silver ware by well-dressed stewards, we were fed 3 times daily, in addition to snacks at 10am and tea at being affiliated to any older university.
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