Crisis in Uganda: Expired Degrees Could Leave Many Educated Unemployed

As the world changes rapidly, one thing that remains constant is the value of education. In Uganda, education has been seen as a way to lift people out of poverty and into prosperity. However, a new crisis looms on the horizon that could turn those dreams into a distant memory. Recently, the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), the body in Uganda tasked with approving and regulating academic programs across all private and public universities, called for a meeting with university heads to address the issue of expired degrees.

Many graduates in Uganda are facing the harsh reality that their degrees may be expired. An expired degree is a degree that has gone beyond the period for which it is valid. This can happen when universities offer programs without NCHE’s approval or when NCHE has not reviewed the curriculum for certain programs after a particular period. The implications of an expired degree are severe: these degrees are rendered useless, leaving their holders without job prospects or the opportunity to pursue higher education. The value of their certificate is recognized only as a personal achievement, not as a qualification.

The issue of expired degrees is not a new concept in Uganda, but it is one that has become a great concern in recent years. The rise of private universities in Uganda has led to a rapid increase in the production of graduates, leading to an oversupply of university graduates without corresponding benefits. When the supply of graduates is higher than the available jobs, the result is unemployment or low employment opportunities for graduates. Graduates end up caught in a vicious cycle: they cannot get jobs because of their expired degrees, and the expired degrees prevent their pursuit of higher education.

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The meeting called by NCHE on the issue of expired degrees in Uganda was a timely step to address the situation. The meeting aimed at bringing the university heads together to review all their academic programs and eliminate those that have not received NCHE’s approval or review. It also had an objective of reviewing the calendar systems to ensure that programs are completed within the time frame that they are supposed to be.

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The NCHE meeting’s outcomes will have a significant impact on graduates and the wider economy. Graduates with expired degrees will have an opportunity to have their degrees revised, and in case they are meant to undertake additional courses to make their degree valid, they will have a second chance. This offers for them a second chance to career pathways that they had thought had had closed openings. The wider economy will also benefit from qualified graduates in different career pathways.

NCHE’s call for a meeting to address the issue of expired degrees in Uganda is a step in the right direction. The issue of expired degrees affects individuals and the economy, and it is critical to keep an eye on the expiration date of degrees. Going forward, there is a need for all parties involved, especially higher education institutions, to be more vigilant in monitoring the validity of their programs. By doing so, the value of education in Uganda will rise above personal achievement to one of opportunity and success.


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