Kenya's Sports and Youth Affairs minister, Pius Ababu Namwamba, has assured Kenyans studying at Kampala International University (KIU) that the institution's degrees, diplomas and certificates are valid.
The minister was in Kampala last week to reassure Kenyan students in Uganda that their qualifications would be recognised back home. The assurance follows media reports in Nairobi questioning KIU's awards after the Commissioner for Higher Education claimed that the university is not chartered in Kenya and, therefore, its certificates are not recognised.
This followed the rejection of some applicants for the position of police inspector general on grounds that they had presented invalid KIU degree certificates.
"Kenya does not have any issues with KIU because it is evident that the university is constituted under the law since it has a charter that is signed by the council and the President," Namwamba said.
The minister used the same occasion to caution Ugandan universities against slapping restrictive requirements on foreign students, citing increased tuition and travel fees.
"I am aware that Kenyan students here pay in dollars yet we are moving towards integration ... We also have Ugandans studying in Kenya but we do not charge them higher currencies like you do here," Namwamba said.
There are an estimated 40,000 Kenyans studying in Uganda. Namwamba's complaints come at a time when the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) is questioning KIU's capacity to award 42 PhDs at its last graduation ceremony.
"We hope to carry out external institutional reviews for public and chartered universities in the calendar year 2013 to deeply ascertain the capacities of universities," said the NCHE Executive Director, Prof Abdu Kasozi. He added that NCHE would downgrade institutions that do not meet the required standards.
The council has also created a taskforce to examine and develop minimum requirements and general guidelines for awards of postgraduate degrees. This taskforce has Prof John Opuda-Asibo of Kyambogo University, Professor Venansius Baryamureeba of Uganda Technology and Management University, Dr Muhammad Mpezamihigo of Islamic University in Uganda, Dr Jane Egau Okou from the ministry of Education and Sports, Dr Umar Kakumba, Prof Maria Musoke and Dr Cyrus Ssebugenyi of Makerere University.
The committee is expected to recommend better ways of ensuring quality at postgraduate level. Only 13 universities are certified to offer postgraduate degrees in Uganda. They include Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Gulu University, Kyambogo University, Busitema University and Uganda Management Institute.
The others are Islamic University in Uganda, Ndejje University, Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi, Bugema University, Nkumba University, Uganda Christian University and Kampala International University.