By Wilson Kutamba
In a bold move to enhance the quality of higher education in Uganda, the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has embarked on a mission to close down unaccredited centres that have been operating under the radar.
This crackdown aims to ensure that every student, regardless of their location, has access to a high-quality education that meets recognized standards.
According to Saul Waigolo, the NCHE spokesperson, the organisation’s ambitious plans. With unwavering determination, he emphasised the need for quality assurance in the nation’s education system and left no room for ambiguity regarding the NCHE’s intentions.
He further explains that the quality education is not a privilege but a fundamental right. “Every student in Uganda deserves to receive an education that meets the minimum standards set by our council. We are committed to ensuring that this becomes a reality,” he passionately stated.
The NCHE’s recent actions have been met with applause and anticipation, as they signal a significant shift in the nation’s approach to higher education. For years, unaccredited learning centers have mushroomed across the country, offering subpar education without proper oversight.
This not only jeopardises the future of countless students but also undermines the integrity of Uganda’s education system. The closure of these unaccredited centers is the first step in a broader mission to raise the bar for education in Uganda.
Waigolo made it clear that the NCHE is boosting its operations to target similar institutions in every district and village across the nation that do not meet the required standards.
“Institutions that have not yet been closed down should not consider themselves fortunate. Instead, they should view this as a stark warning and a call to action, Waigolo explained, adding that the NCHE will not tolerate institutions that fail to meet the minimum standards for accreditation, and there will be consequences for those who do not comply.
The ripple effects of the NCHE’s actions are already being felt throughout Uganda’s educational landscape. Institutions that were previously operating without accreditation are now scrambling to meet the council’s stringent requirements.
This includes upgrading their infrastructure, enhancing the qualifications of their teaching staff, and aligning their curricula with national standards.
Amb-Al-Haj Prof Badru Dungu Kateregga, the Vice Chancellor of Kampala University (KU), a prominent educationist, is convinced that through these operations, the students across Uganda will benefit from a more robust and reliable education system that equips them with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in an increasingly competitive world.
According to Kateregga, there’s still a question about these centers’ rapid growth and whether they have sought approval from the NCHE.
“There’s proof that many of these centres operate in less-than-ideal settings, such as cramped classrooms, makeshift offices, or even places of worship. This not only affects the physical environment but also raises concerns about the integrity of the education provided,” he explained.
Moreover, he added, the compatibility of these remote centres with modern education demands attention. In an era where ICT skills are essential, Kateregga argued that students in such centres often lack access to up-to-date resources and technology. “This digital divide could hinder their competitiveness in the global job market,” he noted
However, he said, this highlights the urgency for the NCHE and other stakeholders to ensure equitable access to high-quality education for all students across Uganda.