The Academic Registrar of Cavendish University Uganda, Mr. Michael Okopa was invited to present the Cavendish University experience in implementing the Higher Education Certificate (HEC) also known as Foundation Programme at a workshop organised by the National Council for Higher Education in partnership with FAWE- Uganda.
The workshop which was held at Protea Hotel, Kampala on March 2 2022 was aimed at popularizing the implementation of the Higher Education Certificate programme as a university bridging/foundation programme in Uganda.
The HEC or Foundation programme is intended for local students who fail to join the degree or diploma programmes but have at least two subsidiary passes or one principal pass and also students whose foreign secondary school qualifications are not considered equivalent to UACE (Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education) but permit admission into Higher Education in the foreign country. HEC provides learners with the basic introductory knowledge, cognitive and conceptual tool and practical technique for further higher education studies in their chosen field of study.
The workshop was opened by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports, Ms. Ketty Lamaro and closed by Dr. Jane Egau Okou Director, the Director for Higher Technical Vocational Education and Training in the Ministry of Education and Sports.
During his presentation, the Academic Registrar, Mr. Michael Okopa highlighted the teaching strategies used at Cavendish University which involve team teaching and support for the certificate students such as peer tutoring which is conducted mainly by the academic merit scholarship students. He further expounded on the asynchronous and synchronous online teaching methods and face to face classes which enable students to share their experiences and discuss their challenges with their instructors.
Mr. Okopa said that facilitators at Cavendish University undergo continuous training to improve the students experience and projected the need for more sensitization of local students, parents and sponsors to appreciate the Foundation/HEC programme as a bridging programme to increase the number of local students joining the programme.
Prominent members in attendance included; the Executive Director of NCHE, Prof Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director FAWE, officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), representatives of professional bodies like Allied Health Professionals Council, Nurses Council, among others.
Several universities were also represented and these included; Busitema University, Gulu University, Makerere University, Bishop Stuart University, KIU, Mountains of the Moon, Kabale University, Kisubi University, among others.
Only two universities were requested to present their experiences in implementing the Higher Education Certificate and these were; Busitema university and Cavendish University Uganda. Three alumni of the HEC programmes from Busitema university were able to share their experiences as students in the HEC programme and also how the HEC programme had prepared them for the Bachelor’s programmes.
Dr Cyrus Ssebugenyi, the Principal Higher Education Officer at the NCHE told members that plans were underway to design a special curriculum for Arts students to enable them to enroll for undergraduate science programmes.