By Marion Bameka
The inspection team from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) on September 21 inspected the Uganda Christian University Medical School facilities at Mengo Hospital for the long-awaited Albert Cook Medical School project.
According to the reactions from the NCHE delegates, it was concluded that the UCU Medical School is not yet ready to start.
Mr Robert Ayine, a delegate from NCHE overseeing the inspection, expressed concern that the UCU team seemed unprepared for the opening of the school.
“There is no equipment like apparatuses in the laboratories, books in the library, and we couldn’t even test the WI-FI that is being talked about. There is even no appointment letter Sample for the permanent staff,” he said.
However, in UCU’s defence, Dr Edward Kanyesigye, the dean of the Faculty of Health Science and head of the UCU team, said that the Katherine Building that Mengo Hospital offered for the school in the MoU were still under renovation. Therefore the library, and the computer resource centre were not ready yet.
“Laboratory apparatuses are available but for security reasons they cannot be installed now before the school is opened. Some books are also already in stock, and others are in the pipeline and orders have been placed,” Dr Kanyesigye said.
On the issue of staff, he pointed out that it was not realistic to issue out appointment letters before the school opens but the plans were part of the expenses.
“However that should not worry you,” Kanyesigye continued. “Many people would want to join UCU and as soon as we advertise, a number of applications will come in. As we talk now, a total of 50 staff is already on board and immediately we get hold of the licence they are ready to start work.”
The NCHE delegates also demanded to see the organogram which could not be produced because it was to be worked on by the University Council.
The delegates concluded by promising to work on the report which they will share with UCU showing the checklist of what is expected, and the deadline. If the UCU team can meet these targets by November, then there is hope for the Medical School to start in January 2018.
Nevertheless, the delegates commended some of the facilities like the gazetted space for offices, lecture rooms at the PRD Building that was donated by the Chancellor, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, the halls of residence, the furniture, laboratory space, and the lavish compound fit for learning purposes.
They also applauded the number of students that university expects, observing the the space they have witnessed is fit to accommodate them. The teaching curriculum and examination setting also scored highly because they pass both the students’ and professional standards.
The delegates recommended that UCU sit with Mengo Hospital and enrich their MoU in order to accommodate operational terms such as the shared facilities and staff.
This is to avoid future conflict of interest: UCU’s being the students’ learning while Mengo Hospital focuses on patients.
Prof George Kirya, also a delegate from NCHE, applauded UCU’s zeal and the team spirit that he witnessed as a sign of excellence.
“First, from the Vice Chancellor’s presentation, there was no doubt that he feels UCU at heart. Second, we have also been attended to by two deputy vice chancellors from morning,” he said.