Study a Professional Course at KIU
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.