Kampala International University (KIU) is the latest institution to reveal that some courses classified as active and expired by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) have actually never been taught at the institution.
Uganda Christian University (UCU) was the first to raise the same concern.
At least 1,470 programmes have expired over the last five years, according to the NCHE. The affected programmes include both graduate and undergraduate courses, and the expiry period differs according to the academic institutions.
Prof Mouhamad Mpezamihigo, the Vice-chancellor Kampala International University, says it is incumbent upon NCHE to rectify the mistakes observed so as not to create unnecessary panic and anxiety in the public.
“A thorough analysis of the NCHE portal list of “Active” and “Expired” clearly points to errors regarding the status of the KIU programmes. For example, there are programmes that the University does not offer and are listed. Some appear in both the “Expired” and “Active” lists, while others are duplicated. This creates a wrong impression of the current programmes of the University,” Prof Mpezamihigo says.
“The duty to rectify the errors lies with the NCHE and the University shall formally engage NCHE in that regard,” he adds.
He says KIU does not support any unaccredited programmes, and remains vigilant in identifying suitable new academic programmes, undertakes thorough accreditation processes, invests in human resources and infrastructure and adheres to admission criteria as predetermined in the curricula.
He says previously, the University communicated its concerns to the NCHE and questioned the legality of the terminologies adopted and used by NCHE such as “re-accreditation” of academic programmes”, “expiry” of academic programmes”, which are not explicitly provided for under the applicable law.
“We are hopeful that NCHE will finally pronounce itself on these terms that have been a source of confusion,” Prof Mpezamihigo explains.
“It is quite unfortunate that at national, regional and global levels, everyone now seems to be giving different explanations about those terminologies, thus rendering more confusion to all categories of our students (past, current and prospective) and members of the general public.”
“The NCHE inspections, facilities verification, and the final communication about reviews of programmes submitted by the University are always significantly delayed, and in some cases, this takes years before any feedback is given,” Prof Mpezamihigo adds.
The same position was on Wednesday, reiterated by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, who blamed the current ‘expired’ courses crisis on misuse of strong words and directed the NCHE to declassify ‘expired’ courses as “under review”.
While presiding over plenary, Deputy Speaker challenged the Ministry of Education and Sports on its programme accreditation and review policy.
“Sometimes we love using strong words without knowing the impact they can have? Why use the word expired? Hon. Muyingo you need to write to the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) so that these programmes are marked as programmes under review, ” the Deputy Speaker said.
“When you say a bachelor’s degree curriculum is reviewed after five years, when you have a course like medicine, which takes five years, it means by the time a student is graduating, the curriculum has expired or is expiring,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kampala International University says they will work hand-in-hand with the NCHE to update the list of the academic programmes currently run by the University and clear any ambiguities, errors or omissions.