Eleven students of the Pentecost University College (PUC) have dragged the institution before the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court for admitting them to pursue a four-year degree programme when it did not have the accreditation to run that course.
The students are seeking GH¢3,300,000 in general damages and GH¢16,802 for each affected student in special damages.
Joined to the suit are the registrar and the rector of the university.
The university is said to have offered admission to the students in June 2010 to pursue a three-year degree programme leading to the award of a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Communications Studies.
After they had successfully completed the programme in October 2014, the Registrar of the PUC was said to have told the students that they could not graduate with their mates who pursued other programmes because the University of Ghana, Legon had not issued the PUC with an accreditation to run that programme.
The affected students described the conduct of the authorities of the university as fraudulent, adding that the gesture had jeopardised their future, as well as occasioned serious financial damage to them.
The plaintiffs are represented by Mr Tassah Tapha Tassah, an Accra-based lawyer.
In a statement of claim accompanying the writ of summons, the students averred that the PUC advertised a programme of study entitled, “B.A. Communications Studies”, as being offered at the university.
It said pursuant to that advertisement, they purchased admission forms and applied to the PUC for admission.
It said some time in June 2010, the university wrote letters to the students offering them admission to the institution to pursue a four-year programme leading to the award of a degree in B.A. Communications Studies.
It said the students accepted the offer of admission to the institution, paid the requisite admission and other incidental fees, were matriculated and admitted to the university to pursue the course.
According to the statement, for the entire duration of their studies at the university, the plaintiffs had paid all the fees and bought all the prescribed books and handouts and made photocopies.
It stated that for the entire duration of their studies, they expended money on hostel accommodation, transportation, feeding, clothing, among other expenditures.
It said the plaintiffs completed their course of study in August 2014 and were to be graduated on December 20, 2014.
It said with the assurance that they had passed their prescribed examinations and would be graduating on December 20, 2014, they spent money preparing towards the graduation, invited their families and friends, as well as arranged for places to organise parties to celebrate their academic success.
According to the statement, in the middle of their preparations towards the graduation, they were invited by the registrar of the PUC on December 15, 2014 and informed that they could not take part in the sixth congregation of the PUC scheduled for December 20, 2014.
It said the plaintiffs were further informed by the registrar that the institution did not have the requisite approval from the Academic Board of the University of Ghana to run the B.A. Communications Studies programme, for which reason their certificates could not be awarded them.
It said the plaintiffs petitioned the Students Support Unit of the PUC to intervene but to no avail and the congregation was held on December 20, 2014 without them.
The statement further said all the time spent by the students at the university, the money spent on fees, books, handouts, hostel accommodation, transport and the preparation towards the congregation went to naught and that had caused them great embarrassment and disappointment.
It said the conduct of the university and its authorities in admitting the plaintiffs for the B.A. Communication Studies programme was a deliberate act of fraud perpetrated on them by the defendants.
Particulars of fraud
According to the statement, the defendants knew they lacked the capacity to introduce the B.A. Communication Studies programme because they did not receive the requisite approval from the Academic Board of the University of Ghana to introduce the programme.
It further stated that despite that lack of capacity on the part of the defendants, they nonetheless introduced the programme.
It said the defendants withheld their lack of capacity to introduce and run the B.A. Communication Studies programme from the plaintiffs.
It said for the entire period of study of the plaintiffs, the defendants did nothing to remedy their lack of capacity.
It said the plaintiffs’ legitimate expectation of graduating with a university degree after their studies and securing lucrative jobs had been dashed and would have to start their university education all over again due to no fault of theirs.
Entry of appearance
When the Public Affairs Manager of the University of Ghana, Ms Stella Amoah, was contacted, she declined to comment on the issue, saying the matter was now before court.
When the Executive Secretary of the National Accreditation Board, Mr Kwame Darteh, was contacted, he said he could not comment on the issue, since the PUC was affiliated to the University of Ghana.