FULL STATEMENT: NCHE finally speaks out on ‘expired’ courses, says they are still valid

Prof Okwakol noted that qualifications obtained in all previously accredited courses are valid, but did not explain how that is so if the programme had not been duly re-accredited in line with quality assurance requirements as the law.

Prof Mary Okwakol, the executive director of Uganda's National Council for Higher Education (NCHE)

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has finally opened up on the crisis of Ugandan universities offering academic programmes that allegedly ‘expired’ and assured and assured that measures are underway to ‘put things together’.

The list which has gone viral since Monday came after a foreign varsity; University of Bristol in the United Kingdom rejected an admission for a Makerere University graduate of Biomedical Laboratory Technology citing that her initial qualification was in a programme classified as “expired” on the NCHE accreditation portal.

According to the NCHE website, up to 2,260 courses listed by Monday (now reportedly modified) had been classified as outdated or ‘expired’ cutting across 47 universities and dozens of tertiary institutions raising questions as to why they were still being taught.

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However, the NCHE Executive Director, Prof Mary Okwakol in a press statement dated May 23, 2023, revealed that the higher education institutions have not communicated any deletion, or merger of teaching programmes and assured the public that affected institutions have been given six months to put their acts together.

“NCHE wishes to assure the public and all stakeholders around the world that qualifications of graduates on programmes that have received prior accreditation, in accordance with the NCHE minimum standards and regulations by NCHE, are valid.”

“Programs which require re-assignment are required to submit them before the end of November. NCHE assures the public and stakeholders around the world that qualification of graduates on programmes that received prior accreditation in accordance with NCHE minimum standards and regulations,” she added.

The Executive Director added that the qualification of students enrolled on the expired programmes is recognised worldwide since they were accredited in the first instance and said the council are investigating claims of some Ugandan students who were reportedly turned away by foreign universities when applying for graduate studies.

“We are investigating these two cases, with the aim of assisting them. But we have not been provided with information by them. We are only reading about them from social media,” she said.

“Not everything we read on social media is authentic. I encourage them to come forward with evidence so they can be assisted.”


The NCHE statement and response comes against the backdrop of clashes from University Heads universities who shifted the blame to the regulator, accusing it of delaying accreditation.

Prof Okwakol however disagreed with Heads of Institutions who had shifted the blame to the Council and said under the law, the primary responsibility to ensure that students are taught only accredited programmes is entirely onto the universities and other tertiary institutions.

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“Expiry of accreditation, as reflected on the NCHE website, means that the programme needs re-assessment to establish whether the key aspects upon which accreditation was granted are still in place. No programme will receive this label once institutions conform to the requirements for re-assessment,” she observed in a statement.

The Universities and Other Tertiary Institution’s Act, 2001, requires accredited higher certificate, diploma and bacherlor’s and master’s degree programmes to be reviewed and reaccredited every five years while doctoral programmes have to be re-evaluated every decade.

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