NCHE blocks universities, institutions from reopening for all learners

Professor Mary J. N. Okwakol, the Executive Director, National Council for Higher Education (PHOTO/Courtesy).

KAMPALA — The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has blocked higher institutions of learning from reopening—citing that there’s no formal communication from government to that effect.

Professor Mary J. N. Okwakol, the Executive Director, National Council for Higher Education said her council has received several requests from higher institutions of learning, requesting to open for all students.

She, however, says it all depends on resolutions that will come from the Ministry of Health, national COVID task force and the Ministry of Education and sports, in regards to opening up of Higher Institutions of learning in Uganda.

“The purpose of this communication is, therefore, to urge all Higher Education Institutions not to reopen until a decision of Government on this matter is communicated,” Prof. Okwakol wrote.

The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Education Patrick Muinda, said that the the decision to open schools for other learners will be communicated by the President.

NCHE late last year accepted opening of universities and tertiary institutions teaching health courses for only final-year students but after fulfilling the stipulated requirements for prevention of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fate of non-finalists and students in other courses remains unknown.

Several institutions including Makerere University this week asked new students to start picking admission letters as university resurrects from coronavirus disruptions.

The Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, said the the university has been working on the guidelines since the reopening of the university for final year students in anticipation that when the government reopens higher institutions of learning fully, the university is ready to welcome back all students.

“We have already put in place the required facilities like hand washing facilities, soap, sanitisers and management is now working on the timetables for students,” Prof Nawangwe said.

Professor David Lameck Kibikyo, the Vice-Chancellor for Busoga University says for continuing and new students to start studying, it would require more resources in terms of furniture, scholastic materials to serve them well.

“It requires some time for better planned and investment of resources at the university to accommodate more students.” He said.

The Vice-Chancellor of Kampala International University (KIU), Prof Muhammed Mpezamihigo, said: “fresh and continuing students and parents can be given some time to prepare so they should look for some money to complete their tuition,” Prof Mpezamihigo said.

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