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HOW YMCA WANDEGEYA CIRCUMVENTED NCHE’S PHD REQUIREMENT TO BECOME A CHARTERED UNIVERSITY 

Dr Herbert Mukasa is the Principal (aka Vice Chancellor) under whom YMCA has registered remarkable progress.

By Mulengera Reporters 

Anyone who knows a thing or two about provision of quality higher education in Uganda will tell you the difference it makes for one’s child to be enrolled to a University which is chartered. Chartered status is what is commonly being referred in especially job adverts when the framers use the phrase “from a recognized University.”

Recognized University, in case it’s private, is the only way your students can be admitted for a Master’s degree at say Makerere or any other prestigious University abroad. The implication is that students graduated from a University, like Buganda Kingdom’s Mutesa I University, which doesn’t have a Charter, can’t be admitted at say Makerere University or even Uganda Management Institute (UMI) to pursue a Master’s degree or any other graduate qualification. If they are to enroll at Makerere, students from such Universities have to rejoin afresh, do a bachelor’s degree at Makerere which can be the only basis on which they can get admitted for Masters.

That derogatory and contemptuous reputation of being unchartered, and therefore unrecognized, is what YMCA Wandegeya recently managed to overcome by acquiring Charter status which is only bestowed by the Uganda National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) after a rigorous vetting process. Currently, former Busitema University VC Prof Mary Okwakol is the CEO for NCHE and during her time the Council has taken on the reputation of being uncompromising when it comes to enforcing high regulatory standards.

During that Charter-solicitation process, the NCHE will impose a list of compliance indicators with which the academic institution or University being vetted must comply. These include things relating to infrastructure, library facilities, being financially sound or viable, strict adherence to corporate governance and most importantly availability of staff with PhDs. The PhD requirement is the hardest to satisfy of all even though there are some Universities like Cavendish, which have that in plenty but still fail to qualify for Charter because of some other reasons.

In the case of Cavendish, the Charter hasn’t yet come through because of the physical infrastructure-related concerns. The University currently operates from rented premises in Nsambya near Seyani headquarters and NCHE at least wants proof that, even when they don’t own that place, a tenancy agreement valid for at least 15 years or so has been entered into.

For YMCA, which is categorized as the other degree-awarding institution, the infrastructure isn’t their problem. They have plenty of that at both the Wandegeya campus and Buwambo, along Bombo Road, where their University has been headquartered for about 6 years they have been in existence with that elevation of being “other degree-awarding institution.”

Having specialized and excelled for years by running diploma programs, YMCA Wandegeya initially understandably had challenges raising the required number of PhDs. But in the last 6 years, a lot of work went into that staff development aspect and as of now, they have more than the required minimum number of PhDs and can safely run degree programs.

As they went through the Charter-acquisition processes, the authorities at YMCA also offered to do more to exceed the NCHE requirements regarding the PhD numbers. And this briefly is how they pulled it off. Leveraging on their good name and reputation built over the years, the team of YMCA bosses led by Dr. Herbert Mukasa, their Vice Chancellor, executed a number of MoUs with reputable academic institutions within Uganda.

Under the MoUs, YMCA can freely access and leverage on the PhD holders of these Universities under a rotational basis. Under the MoUs, the Universities like Makerere, Ndejje University and Uganda Management Institute (which is also in the category of other degree-awarding) are guaranteeing the NCHE that they will never constrain any of their interested or contracted PhD holders from being available to facilitate the teaching and research students’ work at YMCA whenever called upon.

That way, YMCA (which will be conducting a grand graduation ceremony at its Buwambo campus on Thursday 14th July) was able to more than satisfy the NCHE requirement on PhDs. They have their own PhDs but much more will be available under the provisions of the MoUs. The good news of Charter-acquisition will officially be broken to parents and students during the Thursday 14th graduation ceremony at Buwambo.

The entry of YMCA into the league of Universities with Charter (only private Universities are required to have Charter) is something its supposed competitors must worry about. The Wandegeya-based academic institution is already having thousands of students and at a time when other Universities go out of their way to attract high enrollment, at Dr. Herbert Mukasa-led YMCA numbers come without effort. Sometimes such over subscription causes management to lock out some of the applicant students seeking to enroll for certain academic programs. Already many of the former diploma students have exhibited readiness to return to YMCA to upgrade to Bachelor’s degree.

Many are mostly attracted by desire to access the high quality vocationalized (hands-on) education that is credibly offered at very affordable cost by YMCA. And as Dr. Herbert Mukasa & co go into consolidating their University education aspects, the promise remains one and that is the fact that YMCA will be here to offer a University education that is equally vocationalized.

The other aspect that NCHE has had to demand of the YMCA management as part of the Charter requirements is to ensure that their storied buildings at Buwamno and Wandegeya, where some of the University training is conducted from to cater for potential students who work and live in Kampala, have lift or elevator services. And this is equally being accomplished so that at the end of the day, haters of the YMCA progress won’t have anything to raise the red flag about.

The lift or elevator being constructed at one of the storied building at YMCA.

The news of YMCA‘s impending Charter acquisition is becoming public at a time when Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia’s Victoria University has also just gotten their Chartered status bestowed. This leaves very few private Universities in Uganda without Charter, a thing that will continue to diminish their ability to attract students from families and homes headed by serious parents or guardians who know the consequences of a private University not having a Charter which is issuable by only Prof Mary Okwakol’s NCHE. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at mulengeranews@gmail.com).

 

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