Kyambogo University has recalled 1,264 transcripts which students returned because of poor quality, errors and other discrepancies.
The recall of the academic documents is contained in a report by an ad hoc committee appointed by the university council on November 12, 2018, to investigate the procurement and processing of academic certificates and transcripts that were issued to graduates in December 2017.
The 2019 report indicates that the university management presented 7,304 students for the December 2017 graduation. But the university received complaints shortly after issuing the transcripts and certificates.
“Upon issuing of transcripts and certificates, the university received complaints on errors thereon and quality (wording, printing, paper) of certificates and transcripts,” the report reads in part.
The findings reveal that after the university management discovered the anomalies, the then acting academic registrar, Dr Peter Okello, wrote to faculty administrators recalling the uncollected certificates for the 2017 graduates on January 30, 2018.
However, the report is silent on how many hadn’t been issued. Nonetheless, it indicates the 1,264 students, who had already collected their transcripts, returned the documents with similar complaints.
The investigation followed an outcry that the documents were of poor quality and had errors. It follows that the university had procured 20,000 papers for transcripts and 15,000 papers for certificates, which the committee established were of poor quality.
Some of the errors the committee identified included lack of security features like watermarks and majority of the students were given the same date of birth - November 25, 2017.
“The direct financial loss relating to the procurement and processing of academic transcripts and certificates for graduates of 2017 was Shs224m arising from the recalled printed certificates, price overcharge, unutilised stock of purchased paper in stores and at transcripts office, printed transcripts with errors which were returned,” reads the report authored by Prof Benon Basheka.
The report adds: “The candidates’ names, qualifications title were the only features included in the transcripts and certificates. The rest of the features on the transcripts and certificates which were expected were left out in the printed academic documents, which substantially affects the integrity and quality of the university’s academic documents.
The QR code in the 2017 transcripts and certificates was not encrypted. For the case of the hologram, the Senate approved a dual image ‘Kyambogo University’ registered hologram. However, the 2107 hologram is surface printing, which can easily be forged by colour print.”
Prof Basheka chaired the five-member committee which completed its work in August last year. Other members on the committee are Mr Aloysius Ivan Kalanzi, Mr Fredrick Sentomero, Dr Florence Bakibinga Sajjabi and Dr Joseph Okecho.
According to the committee, the academic registrar’s records show that 4,302 papers were used to print certificates, but 10,698 papers meant for certificates could not be accounted for or traced. The committee noted that they were unable to tell whether the papers were utilised or destroyed.
Another 12,000 papers meant for transcript printing were found in the transcript and academic registrar’s offices.
“These certificates turned out to have errors and they were recalled by the academic registrar on January 30, 2018. These papers in the academic registrar’s office have now turned obsolete.
A physical count of the transcripts returned by complaining students showed that 1,264 papers were used in the printing of transcripts that had errors. The balance of 6,736 sheets of papers meant for printing transcripts was untraceable and this could have been used for re-prints or unreturned paper,” Prof Basheka noted.
By press time, Prof Eli Katunguka, the university vice chancellor, had not responded to our text messages and repeated calls seeking a comment.
The university communications officer, Mr Rauben Twinomujuni, referred this newspaper to Mr Charles Okello, the university secretary.
“I don’t have facts at hand. Please get in touch with the university secretary,” Mr Twinomujuni said in an interview.
Mr Okello said the matter was under investigation.
“Discuss that matter with the vice chancellor. It is beyond me. It is under investigations,” Mr Okello said.
In the report, Prof Basheka’s committee observed that the decision to switch from Smith and Ouzman to Transpaper (U) Ltd in 2017 as their supplier of academic documents was not well-managed and was ‘hurriedly done without’ sufficient analysis. For instance, the report blames Dr John Okuonzi, the ICT director, for irregularly introducing specifications on the documents without Senate approval.
Consequently, the university acquired 20,000 pieces of paper for transcripts and 15,000 papers for certificates from Transpaper Ltd, which the committee says is of low quality and the university has lost Shs224m.
Transpaper (U) Ltd charged each paper meant for certificates Shs12,000, while each paper to print transcripts was charged Shs7,500.
“It is not logical for plain paper to be more expensive than the paper with embedded security features and pre-printed as certificates and transcript blanks,” Prof Basheka reasoned.
He wondered how the committee could drop the former supplier, who was charging Shs5,111 for each transcript printed and Shs6,565 for certificates in favour of Transpaper, which had a higher price for only plain paper.
Prof Basheka cited Dr Okuonzi, Mr Richard Muhanguzi, Dr Peter Obanda and Charles Okello as some of the university officials who did not demonstrate commitment to protection of the university image and wants them to be held responsible for the damage.
At the time of the investigation, Smith and Ouzman was demanding arrears of Shs263.4m from the university for previous services.