Govt orders 32 varsities to acquire charter or lose licence

Prof Mary Okwakol, the executive director for NCHE. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • A charter status is the highest licence from the universities’ regulator, only granted by the head of State. 

The government has asked 32 private universities to acquire a charter or have their operational licences revoked.

A charter status is the highest licence from the universities’ regulator, only granted by the head of State. 

The executive director of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Prof Mary Okwakol, said about 32 private universities will be affected.

Prof Okwakol said of the 43 private universities in Uganda, only 11 have charter status.

According to Prof Okwakol, universities are mandated to acquire a provisional licence for at least three years before they are chartered.

“The Solicitor General guided that it should be three years and following that guidance, we have written to all those universities that are provisionally licensed and given them a deadline within which to submit their application for a grant of a charter,” she said.

“If they don’t comply, the council will take appropriate [action],’’ she warned.

Prof Okwakol made the directive during a handover ceremony of a charter to Victoria University held at NCHE offices in Kampala on August 19.

Currently, Uganda has more than 60 universities. Whereas eight of these are public universities run by the government, more than 40 are private, military and others are in the category of degree awarding institutions. 

Prof Okwakol warned that those relying on provisional licences must obtain a charter within a period of one year.

Victoria University now becomes the 11th chartered private university in Uganda, according to records of the NCHE. 

Others are Uganda Christian University, Uganda Martyrs University, Nkumba University, Kampala International University, Ndejje University, Bugema University, Bishop Stuart University, Kampala University, African Bible University, and International Business Science and Technology (ISBAT) University.

However, a list obtained from NCHE, indicates that several private universities lack charters. They include Kumi University, Uganda Pentecostal University, St Lawrence University, Muteesa 1 Royal University, Uganda Technology and Management University (Utamu), Africa Renewal University, Ibanda University, University of Kisubi, Valley University of Science and Technology, Team University,  Avance International University,  and Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, among others.

Most of the universities said they are in the process of applying for a charter. 

The administrator of Advance University, Mr Dan Lugoloobi, said: “We shall apply when we have all the prerequisites in the next three years.

Mr Alex Mukama, an administrator atUtamu in Kampala, said: “We were asked for some requirements and we are yet to submit the application.”

The deputy Academic Registrar for Ibanda University, Ms Florence Ekit, said: “Our team is working on the requirements. ”  Kumi University said: “We submitted our application and we expect the NCHE team here soon.”