By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has cleared Victoria University and other 13 tertiary institution of higher learning to start online teaching to enable students adhere to SOPs and stop the spread of Covis-19 pandemic.
The NCHE’s Executive Director Prof. Mary Okwakol said more universities are on the way to being cleared.
Prof. Mary Okwakol said that the, universities, after inspections by NCHE and revisiting of their programmes, may teach and assess students online.
“We hope more universities will come on board since many others have applied for clearance,” she said.
Prof. Mary Okwakol said the, universities and tertiary institutions that have been cleared are: Victoria University,
International University of East Africa,
Uganda Martyrs University,
Metropolitan International University,
Ernest Cook Ultrasound Research Institute (IUEA) and
The Law Development Centre.
Others are Uganda Christian University,
African Renewal University,
Lira University and Aptech.
Prof. Mary Okwakol further said that there are 21 other universities in the queue awaiting clearance by the NCHE.
Prof. Mary Okwakol said that the first universities to be cleared (by mid-last month) were Victoria University, ISBAT University, Cavendish and the Law Development Centre.
What universities say
Dr Emeka Akaezuwa, the vice chancellor of IUEA, said online studying will present both opportunities and challenges to academic institutions and students?
“Universities will need huge financial and human resource capital to build capacity in facilitating online studies,” he said.
“The challenge is that the country does not have proper internet connectivity. Therefore, we may not have a robust system like the case is in Europe or America,” he said.
The vice-chancellor of Victoria University, Dr Krishna N. Sharma, said this is an opportunity for universities to move into a new era of technology in teaching.
“It will allow us to advance our teaching to another level. We should not lament but look at the positive side of the situation,” he said.
The vice-chancellor of ISBAT, Dr K. M. Mathew, said this is a step forward for Uganda’s education.
“As universities, we need students to be able to access online lectures. Most students have smartphones, but some may not be able to afford data. We, therefore, decided to offer our students free internet access,” he noted.
Aptech governing council representative Hareesh Kumar said:
“Allowing a tertiary institution to teach online is a confirmation that so many other institutions can come on board.”
George Mutekanga, the assistant commissioner in charge of private schools and institutions, said the ministry is concerned about the way universities will engage special needs students with the online platforms.
He added that universities need to introduce robust mechanisms on how to control examination malpractice with online studying.
Some students have also expressed concern that universities are asking them to undertake internship programmes despite the spiralling COVID-19 cases in the country.