Friday August 8 2014

NCHE plans to help bright varsity dropouts


National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) is in its final stages of preparations to implement credit accumulation and transfers in institutions of higher learning.

Dr Pius Achanga, senior higher education officer in charge of quality assurance, told Daily Monitor that they have sent their proposals on higher education qualifications framework to vice chancellors in 41 public and private universities to give their input before they are implemented.

For instance, he explained that a student who was initially admitted to Makerere University but for various reasons wants to leave before he completes his course should be able to transfer their credit units to another university with a similar course.
However, Dr Achanga said the transfers have been limited to at least 40 per cent of the total course units to avoid some universities losing out.

Also, they can only last for five years because knowledge changes. He said the document will be ready in September for NCHE to consider and will be functional in the next financial year.
“Only up to 40 per cent of the credits can be transferred to another institution because the universities where you spend more time is where you should earn the degree. Otherwise, some universities will be disadvantaged. We have asked vice chancellors to share their views and we hope it will be passed when council sits in September,” Dr Achanga said in an interview.

Currently, a student who exits a business administration programme in one university is compelled to start from year one if they chose to join another university on the same programme.
At least 70 academic programmes for undergraduates have so far been developed, guidelines for Phd programmes are being finalised, while they are yet to start on diplomas.

In his document ‘Understanding qualifications in the Ugandan Higher education system’, Dr Cyrus Ssebugenyi, an education expert, challenges the education system to stop its rigidity in its admission requirements.

For instance, he questions why it is a requirement for one to have two principle passes obtained at the same sitting before they are admitted to a degree programme.

“Uganda National Examinations Board should introduce a mechanism where if a student fails some subjects at a given level, he is permitted to repeat only those subjects and the grades in the repeated subjects be compounded with previous grades for purposes of awarding a certificate,” Dr Ssebugenyi said.

Uneb spokesperson Hamis Kaheru yesterday said: “The board has to receive a formal presentation, discuss it and get a position.”