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Muteesa I Royal University Granted Charter :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Muteesa I Royal University Granted Charter

In a letter dated March 13, 2024, The National Council for Higher Education confirmed that the charter, signed by the President, is pending gazetting by legal procedures.
Muteesa One Royal University Gate
Muteesa I Royal University has been granted a charter.

In a letter dated March 13, 2024, The National Council for Higher Education confirmed that the charter, signed by the President, is pending gazetting by legal procedures.

"I am pleased to inform you that following your application for grant of a Charter, H.E. the President of the Republic of Uganda has approved and granted Muteesa I Royal University a Charter...Please note that the Charter will be presented to the Uganda Gazette for purposes of publication. We shall furnish you a copy of the Legal Notice once it is published," read the letter signed by NCHE executive director Prof Mary Okwakol.

A charter serves as the ultimate approval granted to a higher education institution, signifying compliance with government-mandated standards of academic excellence. It also makes a Private university comparable to a public university.

The charter is essential for legitimizing the institution, providing autonomy, attracting resources, and ensuring quality in academic endeavours. In addition to enhancing quality assurance measures, the charter granted to this Masaka-based university holds significant benefits for its students, including eligibility to access the student loan scheme.

After receiving an endorsement from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) in January 2023, Muteesa I Royal University had to wait for more than a year for the President to append his final signature.

The Buganda Kingdom-owned university, located in Masaka City, is named after the former Kabaka of Buganda, credited with inviting missionaries to introduce formal education, marking the origins of education in Uganda according to some historians.

The Masaka-based university was founded following the transfer of ownership of Uganda Technical College, Masaka (previously known as Masaka Technical Institute or locally referred to as Teeko) from the Ugandan government to the Buganda government in January 2007. Since its inception, the university has expanded its presence by establishing campuses in Kampala, Kayunga, and Mubende.

In June 2022, Muteesa I Royal University faced the directive from NCHE to cease operations at its study centres in Bugere, Kayunga district, and Buwekula in Mubende district. This decision came as NCHE emphasized the university's need to optimize its limited capacities and resources, focusing on areas where effective management could be ensured. While maintaining its main campus at Kirumba in Masaka city, the university received permission to continue operating one study centre at Kakeeka-Mengo in Kampala.

According to the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, provisionally licensed universities are only permitted to maintain provisional status for a maximum of three years. However, records indicate that over 31 universities are currently operating under provisional certificates as they strive to attain charter status.

In 2018, the council requested provisionally licensed universities to submit roadmaps outlining their plans to apply for charter status. However, despite several universities complying and submitting their roadmaps, the process of fast-tracking their applications did not materialize as anticipated.

In recent interviews, Prof. Okwakol partly attributed the delay in fast-tracking the process to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she assured that the council was actively studying the roadmaps submitted by each institution and providing guidance to facilitate the charter application process.

To be granted a charter, universities must fulfil various requirements mandated by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE). These include ensuring the presence of essential academic, administrative, and supportive services, such as lecture halls, seminar rooms, libraries, laboratories, workshops, and staff housing. These facilities must adhere to the council's checklist of capacity indicators to ensure adequate infrastructure for educational delivery.

Moreover, universities seeking charter status must have their operational procedures, bylaws, and regulations approved by their governing council. Additionally, course programs, curricula, student assessment procedures, and examination regulations must be approved by the institution's organs and ratified by the NCHE. Any new programs introduced by the university must undergo accreditation by the NCHE to ensure compliance with academic standards.

Furthermore, universities are required to maintain a qualified, experienced, and permanent academic and administrative staff. They must also provide the necessary facilities, equipment, materials, and support services to facilitate the learning process effectively. This includes establishing student and staff support organs, as well as welfare services like clinics or dispensaries, student unions, and sports facilities.

Lastly, universities must demonstrate a willingness to undergo inspection or visits by the NCHE whenever deemed necessary by the council. This commitment to transparency and accountability ensures that institutions are continually evaluated and held to the highest standards of quality assurance in higher education.

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