The National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) has blamed the increase in low quality graduates in Uganda on underfunding.
NCHE says that whereas it has the mandate to ensure high quality of graduates, it is being let down by low funding.
The remarks were made by the executive director of NCHE, Prof Mary Okwakol during a public lecture held under the theme ‘Financing And Investment In Higher Education in Uganda.’
The public lecture was held as part of the celebrations to mark 20 years of NCHE’s existence.
Speaking to journalists, Okwakol said more money and investment is needed to inject into institutions to ensure that high quality education is offered to students to produce quality graduates needed in the labor market.
“Institutions don’t have enough funds to put up adequate infrastructure facilities to equip teaching facilities, to recruit quality staff. Inevitably, that can lead to poor output quality,” Okwakol said.
She added, “Most private universities depend mostly on fees to sustain the institutions yet these funds are not enough to sustain an institution and enable it produce quality graduates..So, underfunding which also leads to understaffing hurts the sub sector.”
She highlighted that the education sector needs a financing model that can sustain the quality of education and ensuring that no one is left behind.
“This entails mechanisms that will ensure mechanism that will ensure that there is sufficient funding for instance funding infrastructure and facilities as they are key for various institutions, to have quality staff. Its about money being available for these key things,” Okwakol said.
Okwakol expressed optimism that out of the discussions held during the public lecture, recommendations which were made were to be followed up by NCHE to ensure they are implemented.
Speaking at the event, Dr Joseph Muvawala, the Executive Director of the National Planning Authority (NPA), highlighted that the sustainability in financing and investment in higher education is very dependent on the quality of graduates produced in the higher institutions of learning.
“For higher education to be sustainably financed, the quality of graduates it produces is key. Otherwise higher education institutions cannot sustainably finance themselves. As a result higher education is being subsidized from other sectors,” Muvawala noted.
He stressed that the financing model for higher education in this country is not sustainable, further recommending that Uganda must finance for equity to attain quality education goals.
Furthermore, Muvawala observed that while financing is a necessary condition for success of higher education, the sufficient condition is the quality of graduates.
“It is necessary that we give you money. But for you to sustain yourselves, the quality of your graduates must go up. That’s why it becomes a sufficient condition.”
He warned that if the graduates quality keeps low, many institutions of higher education will lose out.