KAMPALA- Two universities out of the 33 that were required to apply for a charter beat the October 31 deadline to attain the charters from the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) .
“We told all universities without the Charter to apply before October, which deadline has expired. We are now going to review our documents to see which universities have applied and those that have not will be dealt with,” the NCHE executive director, Prof Mary Okwakol, said yesterday while handing over the Charter certificate to the International Business, Science and Technology University (ISBAT ).
The African Bible University was also granted its Charter certificate last week.
Prof Okwakol said the two institutions bring the number of universities (both government and private) that have attained their charter to 19. There are 50 universities in the country.
However, an inside source, who preferred anonymity, said majority of the universities that missed the October deadline do not meet the required standards.
Prof Okwakol declined to reveal the number of those who had submitted before the deadline.
The source said some of the universities operating with a provisional licences and have applied for the charter include Victoria University, YMCA Kumi University, among others.
According to the Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act (UOTIA ) a charter is “granted by the President as evidence that the university meets the requirements and standards of academic excellence set by the NCHE.”
Section 97(3) of UOTIA indicates that a provisional licence issued to a private university shall be valid for at least three years from the date of publication of the gazette by the national council.
The law does not stipulate the penalties of universities that will not be able to obtain a charter after three years.
While meeting the managers of more than 40 private universities in January to agree on a roadmap for attaining the charter, NCHE indicated that majority were operating with provisional licences.
Dr Pamela Tibihikirra-Kalyegira, the director of quality assurance and accreditation at NCHE, said for a university to attain a charter, it should admit qualified students for specific programmes, have all their programmes accredited, have good facilities, PhD staff and should also conduct research and community services.
Dr Tibihikirra said the universities that will miss the deadline will either be merged, closed or be turned into vocational institutions.
A number of universities have been closed down because their provisional licence had expired, while others could not meet the standards.
For instance, Busoga University was closed in 2017 because it was operating not only with a provisional licence, but also had unqualified lecturers and was running unaccredited courses.
Others include Lugazi, Fair Land and Strafford universities.
However, the chairperson of NCHE, who is also the Vice chancellor of Kyambogo University, Prof Eli Katunguka yesterday said even a charter can be revoked if they flout the set guidelines, adding that a charter expires after five years.
VARSITIES WITH CHARTERS
1. Makerere university.
2. Kyambogo university.
3. Kabale University.
4. Gulu University.
5. Muni University.
8. Kampala University (KU)
9. Bishop Stuart University
10. Nkozi University
11. Uganda Christian University
12. Ndejje University.
13. Bugema University.
14. Mountains of the Moon University.
15. African Bible University
17. Lira University
18. Soroti University
19. Islamic University in Uganda.
With provisional licences
1. Africa Renewal University 2013
2. African Rural University 2011
3. Ankole Western University 2008
4. Avance International University 2016
5. Cavendish University 2018
6. Clarke International University 2008
7 Ibanda University 2014
8. International University of EA 2010
9. Islamic Call University College 2011
10. Kayiwa International University 2015
11. Kumi University 2004
12. Livingstone International University 2011
13. Metropolitan International University2011
14. Muteesa I Royal University 2007
16. Nile University 2018
17. Nsaka University 2013
18. St. Lawrence University2007
19. Uganda Pentecostal University 2005
20. University of Kisubi 2009