Scope for new Higher Education Institution in Ghana

Ghana has one of the most promising higher education sectors in Africa, with a significant contribution from private sector. With more than 400,000 students enrolled in the higher education institutions (HEI), country has seen a phenomenal growth in the number of private HEIs in last one decade. In the year 2016-2017 itself number of accredited private tertiary institutions increased to 85 as compared to 75 during the year 2015-2016. This is as per the most recent report on accredited tertiary institutions released by NAB on 12th April 2017. One of the most interesting fact to note from the report  is that during 2016, twelve (12) new accredited private HEIs were approved by NAB to offer tertiary programs.

This gives an indication that there are scope for new HEIs in the country, propelled both by the increase in demand for tertiary education by local students and selection of Ghana as a destination for higher education by other African nationals.

Higher Education Institutions are regulated by National Accreditation Board of Ghana. Setup of any new HEI has to be approved by NAB. Institutions need to go through rigorous approval processes in order to gain an accreditation to operate as a tertiary institution offering degree / diploma programs in Ghana. Below are various stages of university life cycle in Ghana:


A Higher Education institution has to be affiliated with any public or private university in Ghana / overseas university  to offer programmes for which the curriculum is approved by the university and NAB and students are awarded degree by the university based upon its assessment regulations. There are other classifications with colleges also, such as tutorial colleges, registered foreign institutions and off shore campuses. There are more than 75 affiliated colleges operating in Ghana, some of them are also university colleges.


These colleges are still affiliated with universities with students being awarded degrees from these universities. These type of institutions are ranked higher mainly due to the number of department and faculty they operate with. There are set criteria by NAB to classify any college as university college. More than half the numbers of the colleges operating in the country are university colleges.


HEI can only award their own degrees, if they are classified as universities. They may also affiliate other colleges after 5 years of getting the university status. HEI needs to pass through multiple audit process before they can be recommended to be classified as university.


Till date only three private institutions were awarded Presidential Charter to become private universities.


Despite challenges, this sector has experienced good growth. With a low tertiary GER, Ghana provides opportunity for new players to invest in the university sector, which witnessed student population growth of 12.9% in 2014. With positive investment scenario prevailing in Ghana, this is the most suitable time for education investment.

Infrastructure is the key factor

A structured infrastructure is key to success, as  established players have raised the benchmark for this. More influenced by European and USA model.

Uniqueness in program offerings

Rush to offer business and IT programs  created a pool of unemployed graduates without matching industries. Even traditional humanities and education universities focussed more on these streams, hence other emerging areas were ignored. Agriculture (related streams), Engineering, Allied Health, Health Science are the future with innovation in delivery.

“Market do exists for new entrants as there is a scope for new HEI in Ghana.”

A summary report on Higher Education in Ghana in 2016 can also accessed by clicking the below link.

About the writer:

Vivek Verma is having a rich experience of 14 years in education brand management and business development, including 10 years in the international market in senior management positions. During the span of last seven years he has been actively involved into tertiary level marketing and promotion as General Manager, Business Head and Rector for BlueCrest College, a leading private university college in Ghana. Currently serving as Higher Education Consultant with More blogs about African higher education written by Vivek Verma are available on He can be contacted for higher education project consultancy in Africa on