Prof Mary Okwakol, the executive director for NCHE.

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NCHE to certify academic qualifications of refugees

What you need to know:

  • The government plans to equate academic documents of refugees so that they can access education and jobs.

The National Council for Higher Education has acknowledged equating academic documents of refugees so as to enable them pursue their dreams.
The plan was disclosed during a symposium in Kampala yesterday.

The government wants to ensure that displaced people are entitled to educational services and are able to attain gainful employment.
Among the officials in attendance were those from the Office of the Prime Minister, international labour organisations, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and National Council for Higher Education.
While addressing journalists, the executive director for NCHE, Prof Mary Okwakol, said they entered a partnership with Windle International Uganda, an international labour organisation, to make it easy for refugees to have their documents equated and recognised.

She said the process started with awareness and sensitisation among refugees in May last year. Prof Okwakol, however, noted that they have faced overwhelming numbers. “Because of awareness, the demand is high and we are getting a lot of refugees who want to have their academic documents equated,” Prof Okwakol said.
She also noted that NCHE has identified the need to have the equating services digitalised and have the online system established.

“If the person studied outside the country in order to equate the qualification, we have to get a confirmation from the institution that the person studied and got the qualification, but when the person is coming from a conflict situation, the process becomes slow,’’ Prof Okwakol said.
Mr Dominic Gidudu, the Minister of State for Elderly Affairs, who represented the Gender minister Betty Amongi, said Uganda is the third country in the world in terms of hosting refugees.  “The country should work towards ensuring that these people access education,’’ he said.

Refugee speaks out
      Februddd Benite Iraduha Nsekuye, a 21-year-old refugee from Congo living in Nakivale Settlement Camp, said she came to Uganda in 2017, but her dreams of becoming a medical doctor were 

shattered since her documents couldn’t be equated and recognised by NCHE.
   Nsekuye noted that before she left her country of origin, she had obtained a diploma in Biochemistry, which is equivalent to senior six.
 

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