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University drags Nche to court

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The National Council for Higher Education (Nche) has been dragged to court by a private university, Columbia Commonwealth, after the council withdrew its accreditation.

In November last year, the council announced accreditation and withdrawal of accreditation of some programmes and universities but its decision on Columbia Commonwealth University was deferred.

A letter from the council to the university, which The Daily Times has seen, indicates that the decision to withdraw the accreditation status of the university and programmes it offers was made in March.

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But lawyer Chancy Gondwe has said the university has obtained an injunction, restraining the council from implementing the decision.

“The university is not happy with the manner in which the council withdrew its accreditation status. They feel that the process was not good. The assessment that was done involved a number of issues they were not aware of.

“For example, they were not told of the minimum standards they were supposed to meet. They, therefore, managed to get an injunction restraining the council from implementing its decision,” Gondwe said.

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However, Nche Chief Executive Officer Mathilda Chithila-Munthali is on record to have said all institutions of higher learning in the country had been notified of the minimum requirements regarding assessments.

A letter addressed to the university’s president, which The Daily Times has seen, states that the 16th Council meeting held on March 24 2017 made the decision not to accredit the institution.

“The Council further observed that your university does not meet minimum standards set to ensure satisfactory teaching and learning environment. The design and the mode of delivery of your programmes require reviewing to ensure comparability with similar programmes, nationally and internationally,” reads the letter dated April 7 2017.

It adds: “In view of the above, the Council is in the process of withdrawing the registration of your university in conformity with provision of Nche Act.”

When asked to shed more light on issues the council raised with the university, Nche Public Relations Officer Priscilla Zikapanda– Namisikha refused to comment.

 

“The university has taken the matter to court and as Nche, we cannot comment since this is a court case now,” she said.

Meanwhile, Namisikha has said results of the assessment of other universities that were not in the first phase will be concluded by end of June.

“The process of assessing higher education institutions for accreditation is ongoing. Almost all private universities have been assessed for accreditation and results will be available to the public by the end of the first half of this year,” she said.

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