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LIST: Over 30 universities risk closure as NCHE sets deadline for attaining charter

All universities that have exhausted the three-year grace period of operating with provisional licenses risk being closed, the executive director of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Prof Mary Okwakol, has said.

NCHE Executive Director; Prof Mary Okwakol. PHOTO/FILE

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has given until March 2023 for all unchartered universities to present their roadmaps for acquiring full status or else shut down their operations in the country.

This website has established that as of January 2023, only 11 out of 50+ private universities across the country are fully chartered, with a list of 32 varsities operating under provisional licenses.

While speaking to journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala on Monday, January 16, Prof Mary J Okwakol, the NCHE executive director noted that universities that fail to submit in the required credentials for the charter application by March 2023 will not be allowed to operate any further.

“The deadline is March 2023 to apply for a University Charter”, Prof Okwakol said, adding that some Universities on the list have already submitted their applications, but urged those that haven’t taken a step to do so, immediately.

According to the Higher Education Governing Body, acquiring full charter status will help in delivering quality education that meets international standards.

Okwakol explained that the process of enforcing the charter status for universities had been affected by the three-year covid period which forced the NCHE to pause the enforcement, but now that universities have returned to optimal and normal operations, they should aim at gaining the charter to continue operating.

“In 2018, we requested the universities, which are provisionally licensed to produce road maps towards applying for charter status, regrettably, not long after that, a number of them produced them but as you are aware in 2020, we had the Covid-19 pandemic. But at the moment, we are studying the road maps and guiding each institution. We expect not long from now, all of them should be able to apply for charter status,” She said.

She added: “So far, some have applied and we are reviewing their applications while those who will fail, the council will decide the penalties at an appropriate time but they risk being closed. That is a possibility.”

Victoria University Chancellor Prof Opuda Asibo (L) hands over charter documents to Dr Lawrence Muganga, the vice-chancellor, and Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, the proprietor of Victoria University in September last year

When asked about how long a University is allowed to operate under a provisional license, Ms Okwakol said the NCHE act allows a provisionally licensed university to operate for at least three years, and after should apply for a full license and accreditation.

“It is true some have gone beyond this period but what we have been doing is monitoring them and guiding them, identifying areas of strength, which they can maintain, and identifying areas of weaknesses, which they can improve on. We also request provisionally licensed universities, which have not submitted their roadmaps for charter status, to do so by March,” Prof Okwakol noted.

Ms Maria Nakachwa, the NCHE Director for Quality Assurance and Accreditation said under the roadmap for charter acquisition, the institution should indicate the time frame it intends to acquire the charter, when it will be ready for vetting as well as the self-assessment report, showing the future progresses of the institution, among others.

According to the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001, a person proposing to establish nd operate a private university or post-secondary learning institution has to make an application to NCHE for a provisional license, with a proposed name, location, the academic character of the institution among other requirements.

A charter status is “granted by the President under this Act as evidence that the University meets the requirements and standards of academic excellence set by the National Council.

Fully Chartered Universities

Private Chartered

• African Bible University
• Bugema University
• International University of East Africa
• Kampala International University
• Kampala University
• Nkumba University
• Uganda Christian University
• Uganda Martyrs University
• Islamic University in Uganda
• Bishop Stuart University
• ISBAT University
• Victoria University
• Ndejje University

Public Universities
• Makerere university
• Gulu University
• Mbarara University of Science and Technology
• Mountains of the Moon University
• Muni University
• Kabale University
• Kyambogo University
• Lira University
• Busitema University

Unchartered Universities/ Provisionally licensed

•       Africa Renewal University 
•       African Rural University
•       Aga Khan University
•       All Saints University, Lango
•       Ankole Western University
•       Avance International University
•       Cavendish University
•       Clarke International University
•       Equator University of Science and Technology 
•       Fins Medical University (FMU)
•       Great Lakes Regional University
•       Ibanda University
•       Islamic Call University College
•       King Ceasar University 
•       Kumi University
•       Limkokwing of Creative Technology
•       Livingstone International University
•       Metropolitan International University 
•       Muteesa I Royal University
•       Nexus International University 
•       Rwenzori International University
•       St. Lawrence University
•       Team University
•       Uganda Pentecostal University
•       Uganda Technology and Management University 
•       Unicaf University
•       University of Kisubi
•       University of Saint Joseph Mbarara
•       University of the Sacred Heart, Gulu
•       Valley University of Science & Technology

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