Ms. Ketty Lamaro, Permanent Secretary, MoES, hails NCHE for the Higher Education Certificate programme
The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) , in partnership with FAWE-Uganda, organized a stakeholders’ workshop to popularize the implementation of the Higher Education Certificate programme as a University bridging/foundation programme in Uganda. The workshop was held on 2nd March, 2022 at Protea-Skyz Hotel, Naguru.
This workshop was officiated by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports, Ms. Ketty Lamaro who hailed the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) for the efforts undertaken in addressing challenges faced in accessing Higher Education in Uganda. She was happy that this certificate would address the area of accessibility which had been a challenge to most Ugandan students especially those who did not meet the UACE direct entry requirements. However, she urged Higher Education Institutions running this programme not to compromise on the quality of higher education and also ensure to mount programmes that speak to the government Agenda of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The Executive Director, NCHE, Professor Mary J. N. Okwakol in her remarks said;
“National Council for Higher Education has developed Minimum Standards for the Higher Education Certificate for general disciplines- Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences which some Higher Education Institutions have quickly embraced. We need to be mindful of the misconceptions about the Higher Education Certificate. This programme is not designed for ‘failures’ as some people perceive. We should not condemn persons who have not obtained 2 principal passes to be deemed as having failed. Functional and contemporary education systems should provide for multiple entry ways. The Higher Education Certificate again is not just an avenue to ‘help’ those who did not make it, but a fully-fledged Level 4 Qualification on the Uganda Higher Education Qualifications Framework. Therefore, just like other programmes, it requires admission, teaching and assessment. The rigor and volume of learning is carefully crafted to bring out the competences expected of a graduate at that level. Importantly, this programme has courses that are aligned to bridge the gap or deficiencies in that particular discipline to which application is sought.”
Due to liberalization of higher education, the degree syndrome , and the increase in population, the demand for Higher Education has tremendously increased in Uganda growing in numerical terms from slightly less than 20 licensed Tertiary Institutions in 1986 to 236 and from 1 university in 1986 to 53 today. However, despite this numerical growth, the Gross Enrolment Ratio had remained relatively low at just 6.83% as compared to 9.4% in East Africa, and an average of 15% for Africa hence the need to find avenues of increasing access to Higher Education, which should be relevant and of quality.
She advised Institutions running this programme and those intending to run it to ensure that it is accredited by the National Council for Higher Education before mounting it.
She thanked the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), Uganda Chapter for supporting the designing and development of this programme in Busitema University , Gulu University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology.
The Executive Director FAWE-Uganda, Mrs. Susan Opok Tumusiime in her speech, said that her organization focused on supporting the vulnerable girl child. When it started it’s operations in the rural areas, FAWE realized that its efforts were being affected by the issue of accessibility to Higher Education. However, with the development of the Higher Education Certificate Programme (HEC), the number of students’ enrollment was increasing . Due to this increment FAWE widened its support to Lira University, Muni University, Kabale University and Mountains of the Moon University to run the HEC programme in addition to Busitema University, Gulu University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology.
More Print media extracts; The New Vision and The Observer on the Higher Education Certificate