General News of Friday, 16 January 2015
Source: The Republic
Eleven (11) past students of the Pentecost University have sued the University for ‘defrauding’ them into taking a phony degree in Communications Studies that the University falsely claimed was affiliated to the University of Ghana.
The students are suing the embattled University and are demanding a total of Ghc2.94 million for their expenses within the four years of the course as: “compensation for the wasted years and the trauma and disappointment suffered.”
Attorneys for the extremely aggrieved students, PWAMANG & ASSOCIATES, filed the writ at an Accra High Court on January 4, 2015; and a copy has been intercepted by the Republic Newspaper.
The 11 students- six females and five male students- claim they only found out after completing their four-year course that they cannot graduate because the course had no certification whatsoever from the Governing Board of the University of Ghana, dashing their hopes of ever earning a living with their course of study.
The writ narrated the sequence of events leading to the decision to go to court, saying when they found out they have been ‘duped’ by the University, they made attempts to seek redress with the school’s authorities and the school’s students’ support units, “but no positive results were achieved”.
According to the writ, “their legitimate expectation of graduating with a university degree and securing lucrative jobs or gaining promotion at their places of work has been dashed.”
The students are dreading the fact that they will have to start their university education all over again “due to no fault of theirs”.
For them, the private university owned by the Church of Pentecost, took advantage of their desire to pursue a university education to exploit them.
Apparently, the students have been fooled into taking up studies in Communication Studies when they stumbled on the school’s ‘Admissions Viewbook’ purporting to offer a course titled B.A. Communication Studies.
The Plaintiffs consequently purchased admission forms and applied to the university for admission.
The Republic Newspaper gathered that in June 2010, the Registrar of the University located in Sowutuom, in a suburb of Accra, wrote to them offering them admission to pursue a four- year program leading to the award of B.A. Information Technology. The Course was subsequently converted to B.A. Communication Studies in 2011.
The students wrote in the writ that they accepted the offer of admission and paid the requisite admission and other incidental fees and were matriculated into the school to pursue B.A. Communication Studies.
According to them, for the duration of their studies, they have paid all the fees and bought all the prescribed books and handouts, and also spending money on hostel accommodation, transportation and feeding.
The enraged students stated that they completed their course of study in August 2014 and were to be graduated on the 20th of December 2014.
” With the assurance that they would be graduating on the 20th of December 2014, they spent monies in preparation towards the graduation; they bought suits, invited families and friends and arranged parties to celebrate their academic success,” the writ stated.
However, in the middle of their preparations they were invited by the school’s Registrar on the 15th December 2014 and informed that they could not take part in the 6th Congregation on the 20th December 2014. They were further informed that the Institution did not have the requisite approvals from the Academic Board of the University of Ghana for the B.A. Communication Studies program.
The graduation was thus held on the 20th of December 2014 without them; “…all the time spent in 1st Defendant Institution, the monies spent on fees, books, handouts, hostel accommodation, transport and the preparations towards the congregation went to naught and this has caused them great embarrassment and disappointment,” they fumed.
The students insist that Pentecost University College fraudulently admitted them for the B.A. Communication Studies program.
The situation of the 11 aggrieved students reechoes similar encounters students have had in the past with a burgeoning list of private Universities in the country. Several pose erroneously to be offering courses that have not been approved by the Ghana Accreditation Board leading to several face-offs between students and authorities of private universities.
The situation had often drawn the attention of the Accreditation Board, which in the past couple of years has revoked licenses of some of these universities or closed some down straight away.