National Council for Higher Education(NCHE) has threatened action against universities that have failed to acquire a charter.
According to the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, a charter is granted as evidence that the university meets the requirements and standards of academic excellence set by the NCHE.
Speaking during the ceremony to hand a certificate of a charter to ISBAT University, NCHE director, Prof. Mary Okwakol said it is appalling that only two universities beat the October 31 deadline out of the 33 that were supposed to apply and attain a charter.
“The deadline expired and we are now going to review documents to see which universities have applied and those that have not will be dealt with,”Okwakol said.
According to section 103(a) of the same Act 2001 as amended, a chartered university means a university that is comparable to a public university.
Section 131 of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act requires all universities to have a charter, save for Makerere University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology.
However, despite being operational for decades, a big number of universities don’t have charters.
The National Council for Higher Education director, however, said they are still assessing documents to see what to do next for those universities that have failed to beat the October 31 deadline before coming up with the next course of action.
“When you give a deadline, it does not mean there are no processes leading to your decision. Some have submitted their documents and many have to be assessed. It is a process we are to go through and after we shall make a decision,”Prof.Okwakol said.
She urged universities not worry but wait for the decision of the National Council for Higher Education.
“Until a decision is made to cancel a licence of a university is when they should start worrying. Our priority is taking care of students.”
The Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act does not specify the punishment for a university that fails to acquire a charter.
Okwakol said there is not university that has applied for a charter and their application rejected.
The National Council for Higher Education in January said over 30 private universities in the country were operating on provisional licenses adding that 26 of these had gone past the required three years of operation without permanent licenses.
For a university to be given a charter, it must have presence of academic, administrative and other supportive services including; an administrative block, lecture halls, seminar rooms, special purpose rooms, library, laboratories, and workshops, staff housing and other facilities as per council’s checklist of capacity indicators.
The university must also have course programs, curricular, student assessment procedures, examination regulations for initial and future program approved by the institutions’ organs and ratified by the National Council for Higher Education.