Punish managers of closed universities

This won’t be a child’s play. First, it cannot be guaranteed that these students meet the admission requirements of prospective institutions to absorb them

IN SUMMARY

The government has closed Busoga University in Iganga District and Lijif International American College of Health Sciences in Kampala for wanting academic standards, finances and governance.

About 3,450 students at the two institutions, their families and benefactors face an uncertain future.

“Busoga University has ceased to operate and should, therefore, not advertise or recruit any further students,” the statutory regulator noted in a December 1, 2017 General Notice number 1065 of 2017.

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We note that National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) plans to work with the closed institutions to place affected students at other universities.

This won’t be a child’s play. First, it cannot be guaranteed that these students meet the admission requirements of prospective institutions to absorb them.

Second, their cumulative grade point average scores are unlikely transferable. Third, the courses they offered may differ in academic nomenclature and delivery in ways that may compel them to start all over again at a new university, if eligible. Fourth, the students enjoy no affirmative consideration.

The 3000-plus students, their parents and or benefactors teeter on the precipice of irreparable loss. It was not their mistake to seek higher education at the now closed universities.

The government was obliged to ensure these institutions had venerated ensemble of literati, financial sturdiness and administrative agility before entrusting them with the defining duty to nurture the next generation of the country’s intelligentsia and human resource.

We recognise NCHE within the ambit of the law warned the shut institutions half-a-year-ago that the hammer would fall on them unless they remedied manifest flaws. These blemishes included admitting unqualified students, running unaccredited courses and issuing fake degrees to paying Ugandans and South Sudanese nationals.

We are appalled that such criminal action was given six additional months to incubate to the handicap of genuine students and high risk to Uganda’s future and reputation of its education. Managers of these institutions, out of either obstinacy or ineptitude, ignored the NCHE red flags, run the academic traffic light and plunged the fate of thousands into a quagmire.

It is our position that these rash and negligent acts should never be countenanced or permitted to pass unpunished.

The cost of formal education in this country includes prohibitive financial overheads, deprivation and invaluable time. Those who make the sacrifices deserve rewards, not ruin.

Universities exist to generate knowledge, conduct research for solutions to society’s problems and refine human resource to power development. The closed universities failed the world on these tenets. We demand that their managers be prosecuted and the government conducts a forensic audit of all universities to confirm compliance.

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