The Atlantic International University (AIU) alumni have reacted to the Rwanda Higher Education Council (HEC) decision to withdraw and cancel their equivalence certificates, saying the institution needs to do deep research to understand how accreditation in the United States of America is done.
This reaction follows HEC’s decision to withdraw all the academic equivalences it had issued to graduates from AIU, on grounds that the online university, based in the United States of America (USA) was not accredited by any agency.
The Alumni told KT Press that Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC) is a member of the Member of the Higher education Accreditation (CHEA), the International Quality Group in the USA and AIU is recognized by both regulators.
“AIU is based in Honolulu. Hawaii. As any other universities in the USA, and is registered in the States. Every degree issued by AIU is notified by the State of Hawaii Notary. This confirms that the AIU complies with all local and federal regulations to operate,” Dr. Jean Baptiste Mbanzabugabo, Dean of the School of computing and Information Technology at the University of Kigali, and Alumni of AIU told KT Press.
“I think HEC’s Staff have not yet conducted deep research to understand how accreditation in the USA is done. I wish they could read, probably understand and reverse the notice published,” he added.
The AIU university offers Bachelors’ degrees, Master’s degrees and PhDs.
A graduate from AIU who preferred not to mention his name said HEC should reconsider its decision, insisting that AIU is an accredited institution.
He pointed out that he was given an equivalence by HEC.
“In principle, as per the US standards, accreditation of Higher Education is entrusted to non-governmental bodies,” he added that that AIU is accredited by Service for International colleges (ASIC) — one of the non-governmental accreditation bodies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in Washington DC.
On Monday HEC released a statement explaining that even the claimed accrediting agency for AIU ASIC is not a government agency in charge of accreditation of institutions of higher learning in the United Kingdom (UK) or any other country.
Since HEC’s statement was released, local private universities and their lecturers as well as employees in government and private organizations are in a dilemma.
Callixte Kabera, the Private Universities’ Association told media that they are awaiting HEC’s final decision on employees whose equivalences have been canceled before taking any decision.
“We are aware of the HEC’s decision but there are some lecturers who are victims as they had been given equivalences by HEC,” Kabera told the media.
The Private Universities’ Association did not disclose the number of lecturer’s or the AIU alumni to be affected by the HEC decision.
The decision to withdraw and cancel equivalence certificates issued to AIU alumni started with Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) investigating Dr. Egide Igabe on suspicion of using forged documents, particularly the Equivalence certificate, which he reportedly used to get teaching jobs.
On Monday RIB insisted that it will continue investigating the case of a University Lecturer accused of forging documents to get jobs in different universities in the country, despite a foreign university confirming that it issued the doctorate to the suspect.