Study a Professional Course at KIU

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By Daniel Kabuga

There are times we hear
comments such as, “you look professional,” “you are acting unprofessional,” “The
way you talk is unprofessional.” I have also made such comments. When it comes
to courses offered at University, some courses such as Medicine, Pharmacy,
Nursing, Architecture, Law, Education, Engineering, and Accounting are referred
to as professional courses. We are going to explore why these courses are
labeled as so whereas others are not.

You may want to ask
what the underlying characteristic of professionalism is when it comes to the
mentioned courses. Many Heads of Department and Lecturers I spoke to agreed
that the most important characteristic of a professional course is that it is
regulated by a professional body.  Professional
courses are accredited by professional, statutory and regulatory bodies which
ensure that the benchmark standards are observed. Upon completion of the
professional course, the graduate must be certified. These certified
professionals are bound by a code of conduct (ethics). However competent one
maybe, if they do not work and live by certain values, their image as
professionals is diminished. Some professions emphasize dress code such as
lawyers, health professionals and teachers.

The Law profession is
regulated by the Law Council. All institutions that wish to teach law must be
accredited by the Law Council. Out of the 49 Universities in Uganda, only 9 of
these are actually accredited by the Law Council. A student who graduates with
a Law Degree that has not been accredited by the Law Council is not admitted
for the postgraduate bar course at the Law Development Centre (LDC) and consequentially
such a student cannot practice law.

Kampala International
University (KIU) is one of the 9 Universities in Uganda accredited by the Law Council
to teach law. KIU students are easily admitted at LDC for their bar course and
they pass the LDC pre-entry exams.

The KIU Board of
Trustees and Management must be commended for availing facilities for Law
students. Currently, there is probably no institution in Uganda that possesses
a Law library of KIU’s magnitude and stature. Without doubt, KIU is one of the
best places to study Law.

The health science
discipline is regulated by the following professional councils: Pharmaceutical Society
of Uganda (for Pharmacists), Nursing Council (for Nurses), Allied Medical
Professionals Council (for Bio Medicals), Medical and Surgery Council (Medicine
and Surgery).   These bodies were
satisfied with the standards pertaining to training medical doctors and other
health science professionals at KIU and therefore accredited KIU’s respective
health science courses.                   
If a student studies health science courses from an institution that is not
accredited by these bodies, he/she will face challenges in future. For
instance, the internship of undergraduate students studying Medicine, Pharmacy
and Nursing is directly managed by the Ministry of Health. The Ministry
allocates the undergraduates to referral hospitals in the entire country for
internship. This is how some undergraduate students from Makerere University,
Gulu University, Mbarara University find placement for internship at the KIU Teaching
Hospital in Ishaka, Bushenyi. Thus, a student who pursued a Bachelor’s Degree
in a health science discipline from a University that has not been accredited
by the mentioned professional bodies and the National Council for Higher
Education (NCHE) would be denied an internship placement.

It is also an added
advantage for a student to study a health science course from an institution
with its own teaching hospital like KIU. “The health performance review report
2016/2017 ranked KIU teaching hospital among the top 10 best performing
hospitals in the country,” says Prof. Kyamanywa, the Deputy Vice Chancellor,
KIU School of Health Sciences.

The Engineering
profession is regulated by the Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers
(UIPE) and KIU already submitted its engineering programs to the body. Engineering
being a relatively young profession at KIU, the foundation for engineering is
being built. State-of-the art engineering labs are nearing completion at the
Western Campus in Ishaka. “We expect the UIPE and NCHE to inspect the KIU
engineering labs this year,” says Mr. Mundu Mustafa, Associate Dean, School of
Engineering.

Accounting is another
professional course and arguably the hardest business major. Dr. Byamugisha Kirabo
opines that, “it covers many computations and requires at least three to four
hours of study every day.”                                                                                                                 A professional accountant is trained to
acquire the following proficiencies: competence, technical skills, professional
skills and expertise.  KIU is not
teaching professional accounting in the CPA sense but it is important for the
reader to know that the Chartered Institute of Public Accountants (CIPA) has
assessed and evaluated KIU’s business courses. “A KIU student who has graduated
with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
and wishes to do the CPA (Professional Accounting Course) will be exempted from
doing three foundational papers i.e. paper one, two and seven,” says Dr.
Kirabo.

When it comes to Education,
it’s mandatory for a student who has graduated with a degree in education to be
registered at the Ministry of Education in order to be issued with a
certificate that recognizes them as a professional teacher. That certificate
can be withdrawn if the teacher contravenes the ethical standards of the
teaching profession. The other important aspect to note is that if a student
graduates as a teacher from an institution that has not been accredited by the
Ministry and NCHE, he/she can’t obtain the teacher’s certificate. All KIU’s
education courses are approved by the Ministry of Education and the National
Council for Higher Education.

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