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OPTIMISM AS NCHE PONDERS ALLOWING SOROTI OPENING

After prolonged restrictions on the opening of Soroti University, finally hope begins to emerge that regulator National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) might relax on its conditions and permit Teso sub region’s only Public University to commence operations. This optimism emerges after NCHE officials announced readiness to next week make a verification trip to Soroti University campus before releasing the final permission paving way for admission of students.  The good news was broken to Parliament’s Education Committee members by SU Vice Chancellor Prof. Robert Ikoja-Odongo. He had led a big delegation for a meeting with MPs in Kampala. The other officials from the institution who had come to present their budget estimates for the coming financial year 2019/2020 included the deputy Vice Chancellor Lawrence Okema, Acting University Secretary Samuel Omoding, Acting University Bursar Gilbert Denis Otim and Okello James Gregory the Academic Registrar.

Officials inspect premises of the yet to be opened Soroti University campus

MPs on the committee chaired by Jacob Opolot questioned the officials about the readiness of the University to open its doors to the public. The University was meant to admit its pioneer class in August 2016. Omoding told the MPs that they had written to NCHE to carry out an administrative visit on Thursday next week to verify the status of the University.  However, according to the university’s status report, it is yet to recruit all the required academic staff for the different courses in physiology, pediatric nursing, biochemistry, pathology and others. They are also yet to recruit the required technicians for the different laboratories. “The core staff have been recruited. Where there are gaps, the University will recruit part-timers. The equipment for laboratories and cadavers has been procured and most of them delivered to the University. Modifications to ensure functionality of laboratory space are on-going and will be ready by end of April. Books have been procured and library ready for use,” reads part of the status report. Omoding further reported that the incinerator worth Shs65m is being built and will be ready by 15th May 2019. He further said that the curriculum for the Bachelor of Medicine and the Bachelor of Surgery was approved by the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council and recommended by NCHE. Omoding also said that the curriculum for the Bachelor of Nursing Science had been reviewed twice by the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council and also recommended accreditation by NCHE. “The report on review of the Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Computer Engineering curriculum from Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers regarding the programme is expected this week. However, the equipment required for this programme is specialized; there are no known suppliers within Uganda. The procurement process will take some time and this Programme will not be mounted from August 2019,” reads the status report.

According to Omoding, the university will open its doors to students on 10th August 2019 and lectures are scheduled to begin on 19th August 2019. The University has been allocated a budget of Shs6bn in the coming financial year 2019/2020. In January, the NCHE blamed the administration of Soroti University for the delayed opening amid incomplete construction works. NCHE halted the opening due to lack of adequate staff, structures and approval of some courses. The University was by last year yet to complete construction works, procure laboratory equipment, furnishing of the computer workshop and stocking the library with relevant books for the planned programs. For comments, call or text us on 0752510225.

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