KAMPALA, UGANDA: The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has released a list of expired courses offered by institutions in Uganda after it emerged that several foreign universities had rejected a number of degrees from Ugandan students saying the courses they had pursued are “expired” or “outdated.”
The list of expired degrees indicates that almost all the academic programs (courses) offered by universities and other tertiary institutions have since become obsolete and unacceptable in advanced countries abroad.
An expired or invalid course, in this case, is a degree or diploma programme not duly accredited for teaching by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), the sector statutory regulator.
The crisis comes after the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom reportedly declined to admit an alumna of Makerere University, who had studied for a Bachelor of Biomedical Laboratory Technology, to pursue an advanced degree.
“We accept applicants with a Bachelor’s degree from a Ugandan university with programme accreditation, we use the NHCE website …,” an official of the University of Bristol wrote in reply to the Uganda applicant.
“The entry for the Bachelor of Biomedical Laboratory for Makerere University indicates that this programme was accredited on March 26, 2010, to March 26, 2015, and it expired in 2015. As you graduated in 2018 after the programme accreditation expired, we are therefore unable to accept your qualification,” the letter added.
Responding to the UK letter and outcry from the public, NCHE in a statement attributed to Cambridge University admitted that it is true some academic programs that have continuously been offered by the institutions expired years ago, with several of them dating back to over five years ago and more.
in the statement, NCHE says it collaborates with the University of Cambridge to facilitate the admission of students into recognized programs, and that it is important to note that once a program expires, students who have completed or have been enrolled in that program for more than two years may face limitations in their academic pursuits, not only at the University of Cambridge but potentially across Europe.
“For students who have graduated from an expired program or have spent more than two years enrolled in such a program according to the NCHE guidelines, it becomes necessary to follow the prescribed procedures outlined by the NCHE, the Ministry of Education and Sports, and the University itself in order to seek approval for their courses,” NCHE says.
“Failure to obtain approval may render their educational transcripts invalid, thus hindering their prospects for further education or employment in Europe. It is worth noting that similar systems may also apply in other parts of the world, including North America,” it adds.
Ms Shamim Nambassa, a pharmacist and Makerere University’s 87th guild president, who shared the University of Bristol email on twitter yesterday declined to disclose the identity of the rejected applicant, citing confidentiality and risk of stigmatisation.
“Graduates of @Makerere are missing out on various opportunities because the courses they studied expired and their accreditation hasn’t been renewed,” Ms Nambassa tweeted, calling for “as soon as possible” resolution of the glitch.
Which courses are expired in Uganda?
According to the NCHE document addressed to the University of Cambridge that contains a comprehensive list of expired programs offered in Uganda, Makerere University has the highest number of programs at 159, followed by Bugema and Bishop Stuart universities, tied at 63, Kabale University (59), Busitema (28), and Mbarara University of Science and Technology or MUST (34).
The list of expired courses, which was last updated on the 20th of May, 2023, includes information on the programs that have exceeded their validity period and the respective institutions offering them.
“As part of our commitment to upholding academic standards and compliance, the University acknowledges the importance of being informed about these expired programs in order to make informed decisions regarding admissions and educational qualifications,” NCHE said.
Others include Cavendish University (34), Uganda Christian University (UCU), Makerere University Business Schools or Mubs (25), Mountains of the Moon University in Fort Portal (18), All Saints University Lango (14), Ankole Western University (4), and Avance International University (5).
Only international universities; Aga Khan University, Apex International University and Clark University, appeared unaffected.
Below is the list of expired courses offered by Ugandan Universities, Colleges and other Tertiary InstitutionsNCHE-LIST-OF-EXPIRED-COURSES-IN-UGANDA
Officials of the Ministry of Education, which oversees the education sector, were unavailable by press time to speak to how the affected institutions could dig themselves out of the dark hole, which opens them to possible litigation by disaffected students and graduates.
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