Ghana Credit Accumulation and Transfer System gains momentum. By: James Mwewa, ACQF-II expert.

Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education of Ghana and relevant institutions develop the ecosystem for lifelong learning, employability, green and digital transformation: comprehensive NQF, Recognition of prior learning and CATS. In cooperation with ACQF-II.

Experiential Credit Conversion (ECC) has been identified in the Ghana Tertiary Education Policy (GTEP) of 2019 as an important alternative for individuals who have acquired experiences and competencies that could be reasonably qualify them for entry into tertiary education leading to the award of certificates, diplomas and degrees. According to the GTEP, such experiences and competencies could be packaged into learning portfolios that may be converted into academic credits equivalent to the set of learning outcomes expected at a particular level of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The GTEP further indicates that currently, the regular mature entry would require a freshman to start from year one with no reference to previous relevant learning experiences and competencies that may be credited to him or her as attained academic credits through ECC and result in course exemptions for the successful applicant. Thus, the ECC is seen to be an alternative learning pathway that provides flexible entry into academic programmes at tertiary level.

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In addition to the foregoing, reforms relevant to the NQF and qualifications system do include a conversion of Vocational Education and Training (VET) curricula from more “traditional” principles, or bases, to Competency-Based Training (CBT), implementation of Workplace Experience Learning (WEL), and expansion of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

It is therefore, not surprising that in recent times, Government has made clear its intention to pay particular attention to the promotion of quality lifelong learning and the internationalisation of the country’s tertiary education through the Education Sector Plan (ESP) (2018-2030), in which it is stated; “make Ghana a sub-regional hub for tertiary education”. This declaration has given impetus to the need for the development of a national policy and guidelines on credit accumulation and transfer that will inform the internal and external mobility and progression of students.

Further to the aforementioned, the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) and other stakeholders in the education and training sector have acknowledged the important role that a national credit accumulation and transfer system plays in ensuring the transparency, international comparability and recognition of Ghanaian qualifications. With the increased emphasis being placed on the role of micro-credentials as tools for supporting lifelong learning, and need for promoting flexible learning pathways, all stakeholders in the country’s education and training sector agree that now is the time to develop and implement “The Ghana Credit Accumulation and Transfer System – Policy and Guidelines (The GhCATS)”.

The GhCATS will provide a common framework for the development and implementation of sub-sector and institutional guidelines and procedures for Credit Accumulation and Transfer (CAT), designing of learning programmes and quality assurance. The GhCATS will be used by all education and training providers, and stakeholders to support access to education and training, mobility and progression, flexibility of learning pathways and lifelong learning. Further, the GhCATS will cater for the entire education and training system and levels of the comprehensive Ghana National Qualifications Framework (GhNQF), qualifications acquired from formal, informal and non-formal learning as well as micro-credentials.

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The development of the GhCATS is one of the initial steps towards the partial fulfilment of output 2.1 of the ACQF-II Project. According to the terms of reference for the ACQF-II Project, output 2.1,6 entails the development of policy documents and guidelines on credit accumulation and transfer systems for identified countries, working in close cooperation and coordination with the national qualifications framework authorities – in this case, the GTEC.

Arising from this cooperation, the draft GhCATS has been prepared based on resolutions and information collected during the brainstorming session of the stakeholder consultative week conducted from 26th February to 1st March 2024 in Accra, Ghana. The draft is currently undergoing scrutiny by GTEC and other members of the coordinating team. During the preparation of the draft GhCATS, particular attention was paid to the country’s development aspirations and education related goals as espoused in the Long-term National Development Plan of Ghana (LNDPG) (2018 – 2057), Education Sector Plan (ESP) (2018-2030), Ghana Tertiary Education Policy (2019), Education Regulatory Bodies Act 1023 (2020) and the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy (2022).

In addition, reference was made to CATS policies and guidelines from the ACQF website (Guideline 4 on validation and recognition of learning) and SADC Guidelines for Credit Accumulation and Transfer (SADC-CATS), as well as national CATS documents from Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Further, various online sources on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and the American University Credit System (AUCS) were consulted.

Judging from the commitment and importance attached to the development and implementation of a national credit accumulation and transfer system by all participating stakeholders, it is indubitable that the ambition to have the GhCATS ready for implementation by end 2024 remains firmly on course.

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