Stakeholders urged not to interfere in nursing and midwifery education – Dr Yakong

Dr Vida Nyagre Yakong, Dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale, says Ghana's dream for quality nursing and midwifery education may remain a dream if stakeholders continue to serve as barriers. 'Our dream to ensuring quality education for Nursing and Midwifery in Ghana may remain at the level of a dream if some stakeholders continue to serve as barriers to quality education instead of facilitators,' she said. She said many training institutions witnessed an upsurge in unprofessional and academic misconduct during examinations. 'Students' engagement in examination malpractices has become so common and normalized among students. 'They enter examination halls with phones containing content for examination and wrapped in papers used as menstrual pads. Some download artificial intelligence Apps on their phones that find answers online for their questions. Some write content under their dresses and on their thighs to copy,' she said. Dr Yakong said this when she delivered a keynote address at the maiden graduation and matriculation ceremony of the Nursing and Midwifery Training College (NMTC) - Zuarungu, on the theme: 'Quality nursing and midwifery education: The role of stakeholders.' She said students who engaged in examination malpractices risked cancellation of their papers, rustication or even dismissals, and described such acts as embarrassment to the nursing and midwifery professions that valued truth, hard work and academic excellence. The Keynote Speaker said some stakeholders including politicians and community leaders, who should have known better, interfered in disciplinary actions against students involved in examination malpractices. 'Instead of these unprofessional and unethical behaviours to be condemned, we rather have some politicians, some members of management of the institutions and community leaders, including Chiefs, stand in the way of ensuring quality education by asking that such students remain unpunished. 'Heads of school s receive countless calls from some people who should have known better, asking for favours to free such students and labelling them as wicked when they stand their grounds to ensure the right thing is done,' the Dean said. Dr Yakong further expressed concern that such students who should have been ashamed of their misconducts, issued death threats to examiners and invigilators. She said the calibre of students selected for admission into programmes was equally a threat to the quality of nursing and midwifery education and noted that 'Most students are admitted based on protocols and political pressure.' The Dean said such students came with some perceived entitlement due to their affiliation with politicians. 'It is a source of worry when quality education in nursing and midwifery is politicized. As stakeholders, we need to rethink the implications of our role in this journey.' She called for review of the different programmes that existed and the need to upgrade them to a level that was consistent with international standards, 'In most countries, the entry point for nursing and midwifery is first degree. 'It is time for government and the Regulatory Bodies to revisit the processes that were started to make this move, but short-lived for political reasons. We need to end the certificate training and move on to first degree level,' Dr Yakong said. Mr Michael Yidana Mantamia, the Principal of the NMTC - Zuarungu, on behalf of the Advisory Board, Management, and staff of the College, congratulated the 202 graduates of various nursing programmes for their performance and dedication to the tenets of the College which resulted in their successful completion. 'We have no doubt that we have equipped you with the needed knowledge, attitude and skill to fit in the contemporary era. I admonish all graduates to be guided by the stanza seven of the nurse's pledge; 'I promise that my personal life shall at all times bring credit to my profession.' To the 513 fresh students admitted to various programmes in the nursing profession, the Principal advised them to take their academic work seriously and make judicious use of their time so that they could achieve the goal of their stay in the College. Source: Ghana News Agency