By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala Uganda
March 10, 2017 (SSB) — Nasser Road University is found in Kampala city. It is one of the roads within the City. Because Nasser Road is well-known in Kampala, Uganda, I will only direct anybody who is interested in finding it to go to Kampala city where Cham Towers and Uganda House are located. Nasser Road is behind those two tall buildings. In short, it is not hard to get to Nasser Road once one is within Kampala city square because it is a road well-known to the people in the city unless by bad luck one comes across a person who is not familiar with the city.
The above is the brief guidance that I can give to anyone who wants to go Nasser Road University. However, to go straight to the subject matter of this article and as it can be understood from its title, I must state that Nasser Road is not a normal university as some of us may know. This is because Nasser Road University is a peculiar university with peculiar programme driven by money.
Hence, in Nasser Road anything is possible and any person who anything needs, can it within a blink of an eye get because those who provide services there are experts of experts in making of stamps, school certificates, diplomas and University Degrees of all kind. Due to these reasons, the experts or specialists at Nasser Road have simplified and reduced hustles people face in getting the primary, Secondary, College and University education.
Thus, because of the above reasons, Nasser Road University is considered to be one of the best and efficient Universities in Uganda. The only requirements at Nasser Road University is money and as long as one has learned English outside school, to get certificates of primary and secondary education or diploma or degree or even PhD from any college or university of one’s choice is not hard. Therefore, there is no more hustling to follow education systematically from primary to secondary school to college and to the University level.
Whereas higher education is often delivered at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology, at Nasser Road, there is no need to attend lectures or seminars or workshops but what one needs is one. As long as one has money, he or she can get any documents, he or she wants including the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy or PhD or DPhil in Latin. For the purpose of this work and since we are familiar with the education to University level, it is important that I digress a bit to briefly explain what is PhD, how it is acquired and what requirements are needed for one to have it. This which will help us to understand that Nasser Road is not a normal school or university since it grants PhDs besides degrees, diplomas and certificates.
To begin with PhD is a type of doctoral degree awarded by universities in many countries. It is awarded for a wide range of programmes for example, it is awarded in the sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, and humanities such as laws, history, geography, literature, musicology, among others. The Ph.D. is a terminal degree in many fields in a sense that it is the final stage of the formal education. One may ask: what about professorship? My answer is that professorship is not a title acquired through sitting in a class but it is a title acquired through carrying out wide research and publications of academic works after one has completed PhD. It should be noted that the completion of a Ph.D. is often a requirement for employment as a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields.
A clear distinction must be made between an “earned doctorate”, which is awarded for completion of a course of study and a thesis or dissertation, and an “honorary doctorate“, a title granted by a university to a successful or notable person who has not completed doctoral academic work or completed a dissertation at the university.
The requirements to earn a Ph.D. degree vary considerably according to the country, institution, and time period, from entry-level research degrees to higher doctorates. The period for completion of PhD is three years or more depending on the program of a given university. A person who attains a doctorate of philosophy is automatically awarded the academic title of doctor.
It must be observed that also during the studies that lead to award of PhD, the student is called doctoral student or Ph.D. student, but also doctoral candidate or Ph.D. candidate once the student has completed all of the coursework and comprehensive examinations and is working on their thesis or dissertation i.e. all but dissertation.
The explanation of how PhD is acquired above gives us the real meaning of what is meant by education which means that education is for life. This is because it takes several years to reach the level of PhD. However, in Nasser Road University it is not a great deal. Just go with your money and tell those experts working there, the course you want to graduate in, the type of decree, whether first or second upper.
In most cases, Nasser Road University is generous with decree as someone who passed in it, gets Second Upper or the First Class, which is the same thing with diploma and in cases of primary and secondary certificates, it awards grades, which have marks of seventy (70) and above. This shows that the Nasser Road University gives the value for money unlike other Universities such as Makerere and others in Uganda where students spend three years or more but still fail or get the worse degree.
As I have stated in the above paragraph that Nasser Road University cares for its students, that care is also shown by the fact that it does not keep students waiting for their documents for long. For instance, if one needs diploma or certificates of primary or secondary education, bachelor degree or Master degree or PhD, let him or her just get money and go there and within no time, he or she will get one of the documents he needs within a day or hours which in the case of other ordinary universities would have taken some people as it took us some years to get such a document.
In Uganda, it is hard to get papers in ordinary universities unless a person works hard. For example, there are thirty six (36) ordinary universities of which thirty of these are both private and public universities and then four military universities. Then there are also other five (5) Accredited Degree-Awarding Institutions though they have not yet been granted full status of the Universities.
It should be noted in relation to the above universities that to get an admission to enter into one of them is not an easy one because one must meet the requirements as provided in the rule governing admission to tertiary institutions in Uganda. The rule governing admission in Uganda is that, for one to join one of the universities, he or she must be holder of the Advanced Level Certificate or what we call the UACE or diploma from any college or any other institutions recognized by Uganda National Council of Higher Education.
In addition, a person can also be admitted if he or she has sat for Mature Age Entry Examination set by some universities like Makerere and others which have this kind of programme.
Second it, after having been admitted, getting a diploma, a bachelor or a Master degree or even PhD is not an easier task. One has to part with a lot of money and time by spending a number of years which is always between two, three years and above. Yet, even if one has spent such a number of years studying in those universities, he or she may still fail.
It, therefore, implies that even if one has met the above requirements and admitted, he or she has to study hard in order to get a good diploma, good degree as he or she desires. Hence, it does not matter how bright one is but one has to work hard if he or she is to graduate from any one of the universities in Uganda.
However, as I have already stated above that joining Nasser Road University is not hard. Therefore, what one needs are the following—first, if a person is seeking for an admission at Nasser Road University, he or she must be a grown up or an elder which is an obvious requirement since no child can look for a degree or PhD.
Nonetheless, it should be pointed out that when I talk of a grown up person in this context, it must be understood in an African way which, means observing physical appearance of a person. This further means that a person can be even below fourteen but if he or she appears big then he or she is eligible for Nasser Road University Award because no one working there questions the age one has given during the interview with the University experts.
Secondly, another requirement is money, which is, above all other requirements. For a person to be admitted he or she must have money in order for him or her to get any documents he or she wants to be awarded with by Nasser Road University.
Then, there is another requirement which is not needed at Nasser Road University but mostly, it is needed outside Nasser Road University, that is, one must know how to speak English so that he or she is able to defend his or her document (s) when people express doubts about the validity of those documents. This, however, does not apply to where verification is needed as the owner will take a French leave and will never reappear in the office where verification is required.
Having explained Nasser Road University in Uganda and what is required for one to join it and how long one spends to get any documents he or she wants, it is important to point out that most of the people who attend Nasser Road University are South Sudanese and in particular those working with the government.
Thus, if the government of South Sudan were to take statistics of students and universities from where they finished, the Government will not be surprised to find out that Nasser Road University has the highest graduates working in the army, Police and other organized forces. In addition, many will be found working in the public offices.
I, therefore, advise the Government of South Sudan to set up a commission of survey headed by the Head or representative of Ugandan Council of Higher Education to help take the survey of the educated South Sudanese, specifically those who finished in Uganda since 2005. This will help the government for proper planning because of the threatening unemployment caused by the fact that many South Sudanese are educated. This survey will also help the government to find out courses which are neglected by the students and advise students accordingly to begin taking those courses.
As a matter of fact, Nasser Road University has graduated more South Sudanese students than any other universities in East Africa. This is easier at Nasser Road University to be awarded Bachelor Degrees, Master Degree or PhD. As I have already stated above that the major requirement for admission and an award for any qualification is money, one can even send money to his or her friend in Uganda and remain in work place in South Sudan and wait while working in his job until he receives the document at the doorstep. This shows that it is we have wasted our time to study from primary up to post graduate level.
However, one of the limitations with Nasser Road University is that it is neither registered with the Uganda Council of Higher Education nor accredited, which means that it cannot award certificates, diploma, and degree: bachelor, Masters or PhD in its own name. Nevertheless, this defect is cured in another way.
Nasser Road University has cured the above defect by affiliating itself to all the institutions in this world without their consents. Hence, it may award certificates, diplomas, degrees, postgraduate diplomas, master degrees or even PhDs in the name of any respected primary and school schools or colleges or universities. For instance, there was one incident that made me laugh. One day, one of South Sudanese went to Nasser Road University and with no time and without graduation ceremony, he was awarded a Bachelor degree of Kampala International University (KIU) in the course not disclosed here.
Nasser Road University made an award in the name of KIU but without its knowledge or its consent. Unfortunately, the person went to KIU with that degree to apply for masters. KIU received the degree with the application and told the person to come back the following day. However, up to date the person disappeared without any trace and KIU is still in custody of the degree and the application.
The reason that person disappeared was due to the realization that he might be discovered by KIU that he had committed a crime of forgery and because of that he feared of being arrested and prosecuted in Court of law. Due to the fact that it is a crime of forgery to be awarded the degree in the name of any University without the knowledge or the consent of that University whose name is used.
Apart from the above examples, some of the examples can also be found in the office of Education Attaché located within the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan. In that office, many document for authentication but because of the need for verification from the awarding institutions and Ministry of foreign affairs the owners had never come back to collect them and the documents have remained there for the last three years or more for the fear that their documents may be discovered as forged documents.
As can be understood from the above examples, it appears that Nasser Road University has produced many graduates that South Sudan with its limited resources cannot accommodate without any proper planning for human power. It is therefore important for the Government of South Sudan to assess the number of graduates working with it by setting up the committee as already explained to assess the validity of all the documents and number of graduates.
If the government undertakes the survey it will find out that the way Nasser University graduates students may have negative social, economic and political implications. The negative impacts of Nasser Road University may be or likely to be many as explained below—
First of all, Nasser Road University Education may affect or destroy the value of education of South Sudanese who follow traditional system of education. This is because in South Sudan at the moment, the employers don’t go by quality education but they go by people they know. It is therefore hard to assess the validity of the documents since what is needed is the person not knowledge and skills he or she has acquired as normally indicated by the documents one has.
As a result, instead of spending several years in school just to get one document, majority of the employees in the Government of South Sudan have got the easiest way of getting the documents by just going to Nasser Road University and spend few hundred of thousands of Ugandan shillings to acquire all the documents ranging from Primary to the University level. Hence, they save time and money.
In addition, offices of the Government are filled with the Nasser Road University Graduates and because of that there is discrimination in the job markets available in the offices of the Government as the graduates from Nasser Road University working in the Government officers do not trust graduates from other Universities except those who graduated from Nasser Road.
Moreover, the employers who graduated from Nasser Road University and got employed in the Government of South Sudan and then become employers look at those who have followed traditional education system as weak and stupid so they do not deserve jobs because they are going to shame them if they do not perform well in their duties as they are not well qualified like them.
Furthermore, Nasser Road University has graduated many arts students though we have some few science students who were graduated from there also. This has already or may with time result into higher rate of unemployment as there are limited jobs opportunities compared to many graduates roaming in the job markets in South Sudan.
In addition, there are some lecturers in all the schools in South Sudan beginning from primary to University level who are graduates from Nasser Road. These lecturers or teachers have all types of documents ranging from primary to the PhD level that they need in teaching. Hence, there is a need for Ministry of education to assess the ability of these people to lecture or to teach in schools.
Importantly, there are some government officials promoted to the top of the administration in Juba based on documents obtained from Nasser Road University and the validity of their documents need to be assessed not that because Nasser Road University is not a university but it can sometime award degree from the University which it has unilaterally affiliated itself to without the consent of that University which makes the document invalid. If their documents are found invalid then they have to be not only dismissed but they must also be charged and prosecuted in the Court of law.
In general, besides the above likely negative impacts of Nasser Road University education on social, economic and political setting of South Sudan, it is important to point out that unless the government of South Sudan assesses the level, quantity and quality of education received by its citizens, things with time will get even worse and values and system of education will be eroded as quality of education may be lost as the population will be highly educated without any value in the education that they receive.
The above are likelihood of negative implications the Nasser Road education may have on the people and economic of South Sudan. However, the question is: how do you know that a certain person is a graduate from Nasser Road yet it does not award any document in its own name? The simple and straight forward answer is that carry out verification of the documents by telling the students to get their documents verified from the Universities whose names are indicated on those documents. In doing that you will find out that many of these students will not come back to collect their documents instead they will disappear without any trace.
For the above the reasons, it is important to point out that the Government of South Sudan orders all the employees whose documents are not verified to take them for verification in Uganda so that it helps eliminate the false documents. If by bad lack is found out that an employee who has been working with the government based on forged document, such a person should be charged and prosecuted in the court of law because his or her action amounts to forgery which is a crime under South Sudanese laws.
In summary, it is highly probable that Nasser Road University has graduated hundreds if not thousands of South Sudanese and the Government needs to assess the validity of their documents. The Government should order all its employees in all sectors and South Sudanese employed by the NGOs to authenticate their documents and also take the statistics of all the graduates and to bring their documents in order to create the database for all South Sudanese graduates for proper planning so that the government deals only with those with genuine documents who are entered in the database. Because of that the database should be updated yearly so that the new graduates are added and those who are no longer there removed.
In order to do that, if the government decides to form the verification term, its head should be a person from the Uganda Council of Higher Education. This is because he or she will be familiar with the type of documents awarded by various institutions in Uganda and also he or she will ensure that the interest of quality and integrity of Uganda education is maintained.
The question is: according to you, is Nasser Road University a true University and if not what do you think the government should do to stamp out multi-practices in South Sudanese education system?
NB//: the author is a human Right law residing in Uganda and can be reached through; firstname.lastname@example.org or +2567835679256
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