The Vice Chancellor of UTAMU, Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba has emphasised the need to streamline roles in Higher Education to guarantee Good Governance and Quality Education.
Presenting a paper on “HIGHER EDUCATION GOVERNANCE AND QUALITY ASSURANCE SYSTEMS, experiences from Uganda” at the Turfloop Graduate School of Leadership (TGSL) at the University of Limpopo in South Africa this week, Prof. Baryamureeba said Good Governance calls for specification of areas of primary responsibility for the supervisory boards, governing boards, administrators, and faculties.
Although he acknowledged that Governing Structures in Higher Education are highly differentiated throughout the world, Baryamurreba noted that Governance has traditionally been a responsibility shared by the faculties, administrators, and governing or supervisory boards.
“It is important to distribute authority, power and influence for decision making among campus constituencies. That way, Institutional Governance will not pose a challenge. There should be a framework by which stakeholders pursue their goals, objectives, and policies in a coherent and coordinated manner to avoid questions such as; ‘Who is in charge, and their source of legitimacy for decision-making?,” Baryamureeba stressed.
He noted that the commonly agreed elements of Good Governance: Accountability, Transparency, Efficiency, Effectiveness, Equity, and Participation apply to Universities.
He also outlined the various structures of Higher Education Governance in Uganda, defining the roles of each: the Board, the Vice Chancellor, Council, Senate and Management; summing it up as “Better Governance equals more trust, equals less regulation”.
Baryamureeba explained that the Management is charged with the responsibility of implementing a set of objectives pursued by Higher Education Institutions on the basis of established laws and policies.
“Managers are charged with making decisions that will impact the institution on every level and should be concerned with the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of services provided for internal and external stakeholders,” he added.
On Quality Assurance, Prof Baryamureeba encouraged the process-centered approach saying, to maintain a desired level of quality in a service or product, Higher Institutions should pay attention to every stage of the process of delivery or production.
He stressed the need for systematic measurements, comparison with the standard and monitoring of processes.
“But in the course of perfecting a service, it is also crucial to have a feedback mechanism that confers error prevention,” he expounded.
Baryamureeba noted the need to carry out regular internal and external audits to ensure value for money, smooth running of systems and systems accreditation to enforce Quality Assurance.
“It is not enough to carry out audits here and there, quality assurance frameworks and polices at local, regional and international level should be used as yard sticks for the service on offer,” he said.
On experiences from Uganda, the professor enlightened participants about the structures of both Public and Private Universities in Uganda calling for an overhaul of the law governing Higher Education Institutions and the need to review the composition of the National Regulatory Body.
He called for manuals for authorities at every level of the governing hierarchy, strong Chief Executive Officers to ensure Independence and the need to define the role of the faculty and students.
He also highlighted the need for a National, Regional and Global Qualifications Frameworks, harmonized Quality Assurance Frameworks and Legislation to integrate Corporate Governance Principles into Higher Education Governance.
Prof Benon Basheka, the Dean of Business and Management at UTAMU who also doubles as a visiting Professor at Turfloop Graduate School of Leadership at the University of Limpopo in South Africa said while the function of Corporate Governance is to ensure institutions manage in a way that is not destructive to the wider society, it is inherent that there are potential conflicts of interest in the Management of the Institutions.
“Leaders might take decisions which benefit themselves at the expense of other Stakeholders or the general public” he said.
Basheka had been at Turfloop Graduate School of leadership last week to teach graduate students Public Policy Analysis and Research Methods.
The participation of the two UTAMU Dons further cements the mutual exchange between the two institutions following the Memorandum of Understanding by the two Institutions. Earlier during the visit, the Vice Chancellor paid a courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor of the University of Limpopo, Mahlo Mokgalong and the Director of the TGSL. He also met the Executive Director of Higher Education in South Africa (HESA) with whom they discussed matters of mutual benefit and collaboration given his role as the chairperson of Vice Chancellors Forum. HESA is a body that brings together all universities in South Africa.
The lecture comes at a time when most Universities are facing massive Governance challenges and are tasked by Stakeholders to be more effective. The workshop was intended to deliberate on the challenges African Universities are facing even as they attempt to open up areas for improvement and competition.
Although Governments or Councils/Agencies responsible for Higher Education in most African countries have put in place guidelines for establishing and monitoring higher education, University Leadership in most countries find the current environment more challenging. They argue that new developments should be accomplished within the traditional roles of universities. With the global financial crisis, the debate on whether Universities should adopt Corporate Governance Principles has been re-ignited.
Quoting Hoare, Prof. Baryamureeba noted that Universities must recognize they have important differences from other Public and Private Sector Enterprises and hence the need to maintain autonomy, protect and enhance academic freedom of staff.
Established in 1996, TGSL is the hybrid of business and leadership under the Faculty of Management and Law at the University of Limpopo