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Education council probes business school over teaching unaccredited courses

SPOTLIGHT | It is the dream of every Ugandan to acquire a decent education and compete favourably in the job market. But as parents struggle to educate their children, a number of mushrooming institutions across the country are out to fleece them of their hard-earned money by teaching courses not recorgnised by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).

One such institution is Multitech Business School (MBS) located on Sir Apollo Kagwa Road in Kampala.

The hitherto business school that is licensed to conduct mainly certificate and diploma courses has in the recent past introduced degree programmes, including a bachelors in Mass Communication and Journalism, that this website has since learnt has never been accredited by the higher education body.

“We have singled out institutions conducting unaccredited programmes and investigations are ongoing. Multitech Business School is one of them. We have always advised the public to seek information from NCHE before enrolling in institutions to be sure about the legibility of the courses offered,” Dr Alex Kagube, the NCHE executive director, said.

He warned higher institutions of learning against conducting irregular courses, adding that the act puts both the institution and the future of students in jeopardy.

Dr Hassan Wasswa Ssendagire, the institution’s principal, in an interview with this website, said the institution is only conducting certificate and diploma courses, including a diploma in Radio and Television. But when this reporter asked him about the Bachelor of Mass Communication course the institution is running, he said they submitted the curriculum to NCHE.

“We submitted the Bachelor of Mass Communication curriculum to the NCHE pending approval,” he said.

The Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2003 demands that no university or tertiary institution offers courses that have not been accredited by the NCHE to certify that they meet the market demands.

This website has also established that unlike other institutions of higher learning where the Bachelor of Mass Communiction course runs for three to four years, a Multitech Business School student requires only two years to graduate. It takes a Makerere University student a daunting four years to complete the same course.

A Bachelor of Mass Communication student who preferred anonymity told this website that the 29-year-old institution changes lecturers every semester.

“There are new lecturers every semester and we are tired. We do not know why the institution keeps changing lecturers but we hear rumours that they are not paid and flee in search for greener pastures,” she said.

One of the lecturers this website talked to said effecting payment is a big problem at the institution, arguing that many of them stay there for physical address. She narrated how a Mass Communication and Journalism lecturer who had just been recruited turned down the offer after hearing multiple rumours that the institution does not pay its staff.

“I remember a lady came and sat next to me. It was her first day at Multitech. She asked me about the rumours she was hearing that the institution does not pay and I told her that is indeed true. She just packed her bags and went,” a female staff said.

Dr. Ssendagire confirmed that they have had challenges with the Mass Communication department.

“The qualified staff do not give us enough time and students keep complaining. We, therefore, decided to use those who are unqualified but have the time. What we are tired of hearing is complaints from the Mass Communication department. Journalists are really disturbing us,” he said.

Our reporter learnt that of the three staff teaching in the Mass Communication department, non holds a masters degree and the one serving as head of the department has his bachelors in Philosophy, while the other two are reportedly diploma holders, whose documents have not even been seen by the officer in charge of human resource at the institution.

“It is difficult working at Multitech. What I know is that there are two new people teaching Mass Communication but I do not know them and I have never received their document,” said Florence Muheebwa, the Human Resources officer.

The Institition’s academic registrar, David Ssenabulya blamed the principal for usurping his role.
“All staff are supposed to go through me. The problem is that it is the principal who is now recruiting staff,” he said.

This website has since learnt that the recruitment process at the university is based on patronage and not qualifications, with some people evoking ‘powers from above’ to get teaching load.

The higher education body has in the recent past grappled with institutions offering unaccredited courses. Last week, it was reported in a local news paper that Kampala International University (KIU) was teaching unaccredited courses. Investigations are ongoing to establish the truth of the matter. The higher education body last year closed the Iganga-based Busoga University over conducting unaccredited courses and irregularly graduating students.

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