Cavendish university graduates who are recognized by Rwanda’s Higher Education Council (HEC) have been given five days by Ngororero district labor department to present their academic equivalence certificates or else, they will be dismissed.
The graduates of Cavendish University, Kampala, have been serving as teachers and headteachers in different schools located in Ngororero district, Western Province of Rwanda.
The deadline followed an inspection that was conducted by the National public service commission between June, 15 and June 16, 2020, according to a letter the district issued to the reachers.
They were employed after passing teachers’ recruitment procedures and HEC recognition certification for two years now.
“Academic recognition certificate is not an academic equivalence certificate, they are different. HEC knows this difference, the issue is finding out why these professional teachers delayed getting academic equivalence certificates because they are needed at the workplace as par the law,” Edmond Tubanambazi, advisor to the minister of labor told KT Press.
Academic recognition certificate is the approval of courses, qualifications, or diplomas from one (domestic or foreign) higher education institution by another while academic equivalence certificate approves level of achievement equivalent to completion of an educational course or training.
During the teacher’s recruitment exercise in 2018, Cavendish University alumni professional teachers allegedly presented their academic qualification degree and diploma certificates certified and recognized by HEC, they were allowed to sit for teacher’s recruitment exams.
They passed the exams and were employed by the ministry of labor through the district. However, On 11, August 2020 seven teachers were given five days deadline to present academic equivalence certificates from HEC or be permanently dismissed.
“Cavendish University is not fully accredited, but this is not a fault of alumni. As par the law, they should present them.” Tubanambazi said.
“We did teacher’s recruitment exams and passed, we were evaluated by the Rwanda Education Board (REB). We are professional teachers with needed experience. At first, the district officials in charge of labour told us to bring certificates of recognition which we did. We also sent our transcripts to HEC to be awarded academic equivalence certificates, but HEC says that what they gave us is enough and authentic,” Denys Safari Cavendish university alumni and a teacher at Rubona primary school in Ngororero said.
“I talked to the Executive Director of HEC, Rose Mukankomeje who told me that what we were given is enough. Seven teachers have been given letters and will face permanent dismissal after a five-day deadline. But the other 40 teachers could also have the same fate.”
“We do not know what the problem from HEC and ministry of labour is, apart from seeing letters threatening to dismiss us,” Safari said.
One of HEC certificates of recognition accessed by KT Press reads, “I hereby confirm that the Bachelor of Arts with education issued to Denys Safari by Cavendish University (Uganda) is authentic,”
“The verification undertaken by higher education council established that the bearer was enrolled into the Cavendish university Uganda in 2012 and he successfully completed the studies and was awarded the above qualification in 2019,” the certificate of recognition that was signed by Emanuel Muvunyi, former HEC executive director reads.
According to Official Gazette No 20 bis of 15/05/2017, HEC has the mandate to compare, recognize and give equivalence to degrees and certificates at the level of institutions of higher learning that offer general education programmes delivered in foreign countries and those delivered in Rwanda that need authentication including those awarded by foreign institutions through distance learning.
HEC executive director, Rose Mukankomeje told KT Press that the graduates do not qualify yet for the equivalence but promised to look into the matter thoroughly.
“Verry Sorry! I am upcountry. When back I will look at the issue. But, very quickly: they have not got equivalences because their university is operating under a provisional licence. It is not yet officially accredited as you can read on the attached document. As soon as it gets full accreditation, they will get their equivalence,” Mukankomeje said.
Cavendish University Uganda (CUU) is a higher institution of learning that was granted a letter of interim authority on 18 December 2007 to establish a private university under the Universities and Tertiary Institutions.
Late Benjamin Mkapa former president of the United Republic of Tanzania, was the University’s Chancellor from 2014-2020.