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Let’s Suspend the Deadline for Private Tertiary Institutions to Obtain a Presidential Charter

The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) has set an ambitious deadline of August 31, 2024, for all private tertiary institutions to secure a Presidential Charter, failure of which will result in closure.

It is important to acknowledge that, the Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020 (Act 1023) sets a crucial benchmark for tertiary institutions to obtain a Presidential Charter by the above stipulated time frame, ensuring they meet essential standards and criteria to operate in Ghana. However, GTEC has offered a conditional extension of two years for institutions that demonstrate sufficient cause but struggle to meet the minimum requirements by the deadline. Notably, the application fee for the Charter has increased from GHS60,000.00 to GHS70,000.00, adding to the financial burden on these institutions. Pathetically, while the pursuit of excellence through chartered status is laudable, the rigid enforcement of this deadline poses significant challenges and potential harm to the institutions.

Challenges with the Deadline

The mandatory enforcement of the August 31, 2024 deadline poses significant challenges for private universities, colleges, and institutions in Ghana. The deadline’s rigidity and unyielding requirements threaten the survival of these institutions, which are already grappling with:

  • Financial Difficulties: Many private institutions face financial struggles due to decreased enrolment, reduced funding, and increased operational costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic challenges.
  • Infrastructure Gaps: Private institutions often lack adequate infrastructure, including libraries, laboratories, and technology, which are essential for meeting the Presidential Charter requirements.
  • Enrolment Deficits: The pandemic has led to a decline in student enrollment, making it difficult for institutions to meet the required student-faculty ratio and revenue targets.
  • Unrealistic Requirements: GTEC’s requirements are overly demanding, considering the current state of private institutions. Meeting these requirements within the given timeframe is unsustainable and potentially harmful.
  • Inadequate Extension: The additional two-year extension for institutions that demonstrate sufficient cause is insufficient, given the magnitude of challenges they face.
  • Lack of Support: Private institutions receive limited government support, making it difficult for them to access resources, funding, and expertise necessary for meeting the Presidential Charter requirements.
  • Inequitable Playing Field: The deadline and requirements disproportionately affect private institutions, which are already at a disadvantage compared to public institutions that receive government funding and support.
  • Limited Capacity: Private institutions often lack the human resources, expertise, and capacity to meet the requirements, particularly in areas like research and publication.
  • Inflexibility: The deadline and requirements do not account for individual institutional circumstances, such as those affected by natural disasters, economic downturns, or other unforeseen events.
  • Potential Closures: The rigid enforcement of the deadline may lead to the closure of private institutions, resulting in job losses, student displacement, and a diminished private education sector.

By acknowledging these challenges, we can work towards finding solutions that support private institutions in meeting the Presidential Charter requirements, ensuring a sustainable and inclusive education ecosystem.

International Best Practice

Globally, private universities, colleges, and other tertiary institutions operate without a Presidential Charter. They are assessed by regulatory bodies based on the quality of teaching, research, and graduates they produce. The Optional Pathway is the accepted international best practice, offering flexibility and affordability to institutions to develop their competencies and resources to qualify for the Presidential Charter at the appropriate time.

Consequences of the Enforcement

Implementing this deadline will have severe and long-lasting consequences. The closure of private universities, colleges, and institutions will affect various stakeholders, including:

  • Students: Who will be forced to either transfer to other institutions or abandon their education, resulting in disrupted academic progress and uncertain futures.
  • Parents: Who will be burdened with finding alternative institutions for their children, leading to emotional distress and financial strain.
  • Faculty and Staff: Who will face unemployment, loss of livelihood, and diminished career prospects.
  • Employment Rates: The closure of private institutions will lead to a surge in unemployment, exacerbating the already challenging job market.
  • National Economy: The shutdown of private educational institutions will have a negative impact on the national economy, resulting in lost revenue, reduced consumer spending, and decreased economic growth.
  • Private Sector Contributions: The closure of private institutions will undermine the significant contributions of the private sector to the educational landscape, leading to a decline in innovation, diversity, and competition.

By suspending the deadline, we can avoid these consequences and create a more sustainable and inclusive educational ecosystem. This will allow private institutions to continue providing quality education, innovation, and job opportunities, ultimately benefiting the national economy and society as a whole.


Public universities took several years to receive a Presidential Charter. For instance, the University of Ghana took 13 years (1948-1961), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology took 10 years (1951-1961), and the University of Cape Coast took 9 years (1962-1971). Even with government funding and support, these institutions took time to become Chartered universities. Private institutions should be given a similar opportunity to develop and meet the requirements for a Presidential Charter.


The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) should suspend the August 31, 2024, deadline for private tertiary institutions to obtain a Presidential Charter. Instead, they should adopt the Optional Pathway, allowing institutions to develop their competencies and resources at their own pace. This will offer flexibility and affordability to institutions and ensure they remain competitive in the educational sector of the national economy. The Ministry of Education and the government should also intervene to ensure the private sector continues to contribute to the overall development of the educational sector.



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