Saturday September 4 2010

Kayiwa’s university illegal, says NCHE


By Robby Muhumuza & Isaac Khisa


About 100 Ugandan and 200 foreign students of Kayiwa International University could lose millions after the National Council for Higher Education said the university is neither registered nor accredited. Dr Emurwon Olupot, an official from NCHE, said the online university, based at Pastor Simeon Kayiwa’s Namirembe Christian Church, is illegal and its academic qualifications cannot be recognised.

Pastor Kayiwa, however, termed the Council’s allegation as “ridiculous.” He said the university does not need to be accredited in Uganda because it already has a charter and an accreditation in USA.

The university is currently issuing a two-page prospectus containing a photograph of President Museveni, in an honorary doctorate academic gown on its cover, giving an impression that he endorsed or is associated with it. The university, according to its website, was slated to open on August 16 for another semester.

The leaflets state that the university is partnering with the Latin University of Theology in California and United Graduate College and Seminary of Tennessee with full accreditation of United Association of Christian Churches and Ministries International (UACCMI).

NCHE has, on various occasions, invited Pastor Kayiwa to their office and explained to him the need to register and the processes to follow, Dr Olupot said. “Up to now he has not complied,” he added. “This university is operating illegally in Uganda. If you get a certificate from there, it will not be recognised for higher education or employment or for contesting for political office.”

UACCMI, however, does not show the composition of staff and founder members of United Graduate College and Seminary of Tennessee. According to the United Graduates College website, one can get a PhD by writing a 60-page dissertation after paying $2,295 (approximately Shs5.04 million) as tuition fees and writing summaries’ of a number of set books.

However, one is not told the type of degree he or she receives in terms of recognition and respect by traditional Councils of Higher Education that are responsible for accreditation.

Although the university claims to be a Ugandan representative of Latin University; on its website, Latin University denies any link with it. “Latin University of Theology does not have any authorised representatives in Ecuador and Columbia,” a statement on the website read. “There are no official universities operating in the country of Uganda.” But Pastor Kayiwa said the university is already recognised and does not want to be controlled by any country. He said the institution does not have physical structures as students interact with their lecturers on the Internet.

The Tennessee Department of Education is investigating the activities of the United Graduate College. On the UACCMI website, Dr Martin Wisor is listed as the association’s founder and Dorothy Wisor, his wife, as the president of United Graduate College.

Pastor Kayiwa said he knows the exact number of students the university has enrolled though they do not assemble them together like other universities. “We might be having less than 100 Ugandan students although I am not sure,” he told Daily monitor on Thursday adding that over 200 students have been enrolled in Tanzania. A number of prominent Ugandans have received honorary degrees from the United Graduate College.