The Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda (PSU) has halted teaching and admission of students to the pharmacy program at Victoria University (VU).
“The council of the PSU, being the statutory body with duty to supervise and regulate the engagement, training, and transfer of pharmacy students, would like to advise you to cause Victoria University to immediately halt, cease, or otherwise stop the advertising of the unaccredited Bachelor of Pharmacy program until the accreditation process has been concluded,” PSU wrote to the university in a letter.
“This situation has created serious anxieties, uncertainties, and confusion among many students, parents, guardians, and the public, some of whom have called the PSU inquiring about the accreditation status of VU's Bachelor of Pharmacy program and the fate of the graduates after graduation,” PSU president Pamela Achil said.
Further in the June 1 letter, the society’s leader, Achil, ordered the VU vice chancellor Lawrence Muganga to make urgent arrangements to transfer the currently admitted students to other accredited universities.
There are only three universities in Uganda approved and accredited by the council to teach pharmacy programs and these include Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Kampala International University, the only private institution.
In July 2022, PSU authorities met with Muganga to discuss issues revolving around advertising an unaccredited Bachelor of Pharmacy program.
Achil noted that Muganga assured them that the students were provisionally admitted and pending approval of the curriculum by the (National Council for Higher Education) NCHE.
In the same engagement, it was suggested that Victoria University should write to NCHE to request them to fast-track the processing and submission of the proposed Bachelor of Pharmacy curriculum to PSU for review.
“The education and grants committee of PSU reviewed the curriculum and submitted the report to the council. The report was then sent to NCHE raising multiple issues for VU to resolve before PSU could clear the curriculum,” PSU said.
PSU highlighted that a January 2023 consultative meeting involving VU and education authorities found that the university laboratories weren't ready.
“Based on the above, the Council of the PSU would like to inform you that it has not yet approved the curriculum and neither has it taken part in the joint facility verification visit with NCHE and therefore does not recognize the BPharm program of Victoria University,” Achil emphasized.
PSU is a statutory body established by the Pharmacy and Drugs Act (PDA), Cop 280 of the laws of Uganda, to regulate the pharmacy profession. The Council works in liaison with the NCHE.
Victoria University Vice Chancellor Lawrence Muganga has said PSU has no right to halt the program.
“The mandated regulator of higher ducation in Uganda is NCHE. No other body in this country can halt learning in any higher education institution,” he said in a Monday phone interview.
“We are working with NCHE. Very soon they will announce Victoria University as one of the universities that offer BPharm. In as far as halting is concerned, that’s a non- starter because they have no such powers by law to stop any program - they aren’t even supposed to write to any university but can only advise NCHE,” Muganga remarked.