Admission into higher institutions of learning is often based on merit, but for Ghana’s nursing aspirants this seems not to be the case.
Mounting pressure on principals of Nurses’ Training Colleges to admit unqualified students coming through what is known in our local parlance as ‘protocol admission list’ is not only denying otherwise qualified students the chance to get nursing education, but is also affecting the quality of students admitted into the nursing training institutions.
Some heads of nursing training colleges say the situation has gotten intolerable. The principals were speaking in an interview with The Finder newspaper in Kumasi where they met this year to select applicants into their institutions.
The practice has a long history and the pressure is especially strong from high-level political office holders, but the principals say the trend has now reached absurd levels.
“As for the pressure, it is not a joke,” said Mr. James Yambor, the chairman of Heads of the Conference of the Heads of Health Training Institutions (COHHETI), “Sometimes the protocol list alone is longer than the total number of students you have to admit.”
Mr. Yambor, who is also the principal of the Bawku Presbyterian Nurses’ Training College, said the pressure comes from politicians, chiefs and opinion leaders. He said the situation has affected the quality of students in the training institutions.
“When they come in through protocol they also want to pass through protocol,” he noted. “The pressure is everywhere. It is in all the schools,” admitted Mrs. Doreen Osae-Ayensu, the principal of the Koforidua Nurses’ and Midwifery Training School. “We all receive protocol lists from all corners.”
According to the principals, some of the names brought forward for admission do not meet the qualification set out by the Nurses and Midwifery Council (NMC).
“When you’re not able to admit all of them it is the principal that gets into trouble,” Mr. Yambor added.