Busoga University defies NCHE on closure, admits new students

Saturday December 09 2017

Challenged. Busoga University graduands celebrate their achievement at a past graduation ceremony. NCHE, a body that regulates institutions of higher learning, revoked the university provisional licence on December 1, a move that the university administration has challenged. FILE PHOTO


Busoga University has defied the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) directive and advertised for new student enrolment on local radio stations.
The development defies a December 1 correspondence by the executive director of NCHE, Prof John Asibo Opuda, to the Iganga-based university revoking its provisional licence for alleged failure to recruit qualified staff, teaching unaccredited courses and graduating students, who do not meet the minimum academic standards.
According to the standing NHCE notice, “. . . Busoga University ceased to operate and is not allowed to advertise and admit new students.”
However, the university has instead called on students to register for the January in-take, which kicks-off on January 8, 2018.
“The academic registrar of Busoga University announces admission to the following academic programmes under bursary scheme; certificate, diploma, degree and post-graduate in Nursing, Law, Education, Business Administration, Mass Communication, Public Administration, Human Resource Management, among others for the January in-take at all its campuses,’’ the announcement reads in apart.
Many of the adverts are in print form while others are being aired on radio stations since December 2, a day after the University was closed. According to the announcement, a copy of which Daily Monitor has seen, adverts will stop being aired on January 13.
When contacted, the university spokesperson, Mr Andrew Balondemu, said; “We are admitting new students because when the NCHE wrote an intention to revoke the provisional licence, the university sought orders from court restraining it from revoking the licence. A court order was issued to that effect”.
“Busoga University Council will soon sit and decide a way forward; but the university programmes are running normally and students are writing their exams,” he said.
Following the NCHE directive, the university lawyers, Kwesigabo, Bamwine and Walubiri Advocates, wrote to the executive director of NCHE, Prof Asibo on December 5 informing him that the university had already filed a Constitutional petition No.6 of 2017 challenging the constitutionality of Act No.7 (2001) and the Act of giving the notice of intention to revoke the provisional licence.
On January 31, the university, had secured an injunction against the decision of NCHE, which had revoked its licence to operate in 2016, after it said the university had awarded ‘fake’ degrees among other things.
The Constitutional Court Judge, Justice Solome Barungi Bossa, who heard the application for an injunction granted, it arguing that the interim injunction issued enables the university to implement all the activities as before.
It (interim order) clarified that invoking the university’s provisional licence and halting recruitment of students be stopped.
In their letter, the lawyers argued that the purported revocation of the licence of their client is a clear contempt of court and they demanded “Prof Asibo to purge himself of this contempt by signing another general notice cancelling the revocation, which was done in error and in contempt of court, publish a new general notice both in the gazette and in newspapers and also apologise to Busoga University, staff and students.”
It adds: “If by 12pm on December 7, you have not taken the above action to purge yourself of the contempt, our instructions are to file contempt proceedings against the Council and yourself. The application on top of asking for other reliefs will also seek your imprisonment in civil prison for this high-handed contempt of Court.’’