Cavendish University Uganda, the first private university to offer British education in Uganda, is one of the private universities in this country.

For those who may not be in the know, CUU, as it is commonly referred to, is one of the Cavendish University Africa Group network with campuses in Tanzania, Ghana, Zambia and now moving to South Sudan.

But like any other private universities in Uganda, CUU is not prone to accusations relating to quality assurance. John Musinguzi caught up with Dr Frywell M Chirwa, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Cavendish University Uganda and sounded him out on the university’s seasoned policies and continental plans.

The name Frywell Chirwa does not sound Ugandan, does it?  Who is Dr Chirwa?

Dr Frywell Shaba Chirwa is the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Cavendish University Uganda. I am also the Group Board Secretary of the Cavendish University Africa Group. I hail from Zambia. I am a specialist in higher education quality and an economist by profession with a BA Economics and an MBA. But I also hold a Masters degree in General Management and a PhD in Business Administration.

Cavendish is rather a new name of a university in Uganda. Where is Cavendish University Uganda coming from?

Cavendish University Uganda has its origins in the UK. In 1985, there was founded the London International Education Foundation (LIEF) to spearhead British education and training at higher education level.

It is this institution that created the Cavendish College London (CCL) as its vehicle and franchisor of all the overseas centres. Now it is global with operations in Central London, India, Iran, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Zambia and since 2008, in Uganda as CUU.

Cavendish University Uganda as a centre of Cavendish University Africa Group contributes to the spread of the Cavendish Higher Education brand in the continent while ensuring that its presence in Uganda and East Africa is socially desirable and conducive to the development processes that are man-centred.

In the short term, we are expanding the student body at our satellite centres and we will eventually locate a permanent regional campus in Entebbe, Uganda to spread into the regional markets Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.

What is CUU’s mission?

Our mission statement is to provide the leading quality higher education and training sensitive to domestic needs of operating environments in all our faculties across the African continent in the most sustainable manner.

Our vision statement is: “To be the Harvard of Africa.” Further, Cavendish University Uganda operates under the slogan: “Delivering British education and training with a local touch.”

In your view, why should students opt for Cavendish University Uganda rather than any other university?

For a number of reasons, definitely, but first is our mode of service delivery. Our teaching ensures that lectures are handled by two people; that is, the lecturer and tutor. Besides, we emphasize case studies that accompany the lecturers and tutors.

Secondly, our lecture material is given in advance and most of it in PowerPoint. We provide our students with study packs and module websites. Further, we have flexible programmes - day, weekend and evening – and these suit both the working and non-working students.

We have lateral programmes whereby students who are done with their bachelor’s studies can enroll for master’s programmes before their graduation, although this is applicable to only CUU students. I think we are the only university in the country with this kind of flexibility.

We pay great attention to examination quality, whereby lecturers set exams which are modulated at departmental and faculty levels before another modulation is done by Cavendish College London.

Universities in Uganda have been accused of duplicating courses. How is CUU handling this challenge?
I doubt that we have that problem in our university yet. Our policy on course development is guided by researched recognition of courses that are tuned to the market needs.

After that, the proposed courses are sent to the NCHE to be accredited; so, our courses are tailor-made. Also, there is a symbiotic relationship with Cavendish College London, which greatly helps us to sustain quality.

CUU boasts of offering British education with a local touch. How do you develop courses that meet both British and local needs?

Well, given the background of the CUU family based in London, courses are developed after a thorough market survey and analysis to identify the needs, which can be both local and international.

But also, I must say that there’s a proven system at Cavendish College London, which is working. It is that system that has been localized in response to the findings from the market analysis obtaining on the ground in the various countries. That is where local touch comes in.

However, it is important to note that this is done in consultation with NCHE, the sub-sector regulator.
Above all, I must stress, the local touch is cardinal and crucial to our operations in that whereas initial curricula will be as per generis design from London, the same are contextualize to underscore local situation needs and system of doing things and local needs.

To do the latter, our local staffs are initially trained by Quality Assurance experts from London or regional benchmarking centres into the overall Cavendish methodologies of education and skills development.

Do you have plans to extend your education services to other parts of the country and beyond?

Yes, and for sure. Let me reiterate this: CUU has its eyes and ears on the ground. We are constantly studying and analysing the educational needs of Ugandans. As we speak, the university is putting modalities in place to establish and maintain presence in Kisoro, Soroti and Gulu internally.

But we are also moving to formalise modalities or shall I say we are in final stages of establishing a campus in Juba, South Sudan; Nairobi, in Kenya and Kinshasa in DR Congo.

But as you may be aware, we have a Cavendish University campus at Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Our intention is to create a Cavendish network in the Great Lakes region and Africa in general.

With many universities in Uganda now, how do you find the competition?

Competition is healthy as long as it is done ethically. Competition leads to innovations and better service delivery rather than complacency. But all I can say now is that the NCHE is absolutely right to worry about the numerous admissions done in a year by private universities in Uganda.

They are also right to worry about the quality of material given to students in terms of value for their money. And that’s their mandate; ours is to fit in the competition and derive benefits for the larger society.

As already explained, CUU has quite numerous strong measures in regard to quality assurance as far as delivery of quality education services is concerned. The mere fact that our course modules are very much aligned to the Cavendish College London, an internationally recognized university, is reason enough for our students not to worry about quality.

Secondly, the mere fact that CUU cannot run any course without accreditation by NCHE is evidence that we mind about quality. As far as admissions are concerned, I want to categorically state that CUU is not one of those private universities that do numerous admissions in a calendar year; all our admissions have been structured to run for a purpose.

At CUU, we run only three admissions in a calendar year, the January, April and September intakes. Our January intake is done to mainly target students of the working class. The April intake is to target students from A-level schools while the September intake is run for students who may wish to transfer from one university to another and those completing studies in tertiary or post-secondary education institutions and want to upgrade to degree programmes or even those who may wish do a second diploma.

But it also targets students who may have faced financial problems including those who may have missed admissions in other universities.

What achievements do you have to talk about?

Well, we have already had our first graduation in which 251 graduands were awarded degrees, diplomas and certificates in various disciplines after completing their studies. Mark you; we set a foot on Ugandan soil in April 2008. As a pioneer private university to offer British education with local touch in Uganda, that is a great achievement.

But additional to that, we have been able to establish a network with many countries in the Great Lakes region. This has seen admission of students from Kenya, Rwanda, DRC, Burundi, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, etc, done by the university.

Another achievement to talk about is the good working relationship with the authorities in Uganda and most especially the government, initiated by the CUU Chancellor, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the former President of Zambia.  Because of this smooth relationship, the Government of Uganda has been able to offer us 15 acres of land at Entebbe where we are building a permanent home.

You seem to be treading a smooth rather than a bumpy road. Have you been immune to challenges? And where do we hope to see CUU a few years to come?

Well, challenges are always around however much the success. But we have no serious complaints as of now. As already explained, CUU is on the way to its permanent home in Entebbe. Construction is vigorously taking place.

However, I must point out the fact that while our permanent home is going to be at Entebbe, our Kampala campus will continue running as usual.

Secondly, as part of our future plans, I want to say that arrangements are underway to establish a Cavendish University Africa Regional network. This is expected to cut across Africa, from South to North and from East to West Africa.


-1 #1 James Tarman 2011-12-19 14:54
That the so-called Cavendish University is delivering British education in Uganda, is just crap. Cavendish University African Group are just a bunch of business men, like many of them littered around the world, who are only interested in making money ..full stop!!

They simply don't care whether their sub-standard colleges offer quality education or not. All these are just conmen taking advantage of Africans' desire to get good education. How can you, shamelessly, assert that this college is delivering British Education in Uganda?

Total crap, utter arrant nonsense. Dr. Chirwa, let me tell you why the 'name' Cavendish was adapted .. LUCY CAVENDISH is one of CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY's colleges. The name was therefore deliberately adapted to misled the public.

Most importantly, if you look at UNITED KINGDOM'S UNIVERSITY LEAGUE TABLE, the so-called Cavendish College in London, which is the vehicle and franchisor of all overseas universities, doesn't even make it to the top 200 universities in the UK ... and all you will find at Cavendish College London are very poorly uneducated foreign students who are being ripped off.

Ugandans are well knowledgeable and well versed when it comes to choosing British education. I really would appreciate it, Dr, Chirwa, if you could answer a few questions .. you say that you have a BA in Economics ..from where? You state that you have an MBA ..from where?

You go further to say that you have a Masters in General Management ..from where? You conclude by saying that you also have a PhD in Business Administration ..from where? I also would appreciate if you could let me know what you have published, please!!

Personally, I am sick and tired of greedy business men taking advantage of Africans' genuine desire for good education. Africa has a massive population yearning for education. We really should be helping Africans and not ripping them off, as Cavendish University in Uganda (or elsewhere in Africa)is doing. This mentality of 'NYAKUWA' is sickening.
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-1 #2 Irene Kyomuhendo, Newcastle Business School 2011-12-20 08:36
The NRM government and its cronies have destroyed so many good things Uganda used to be proud of. However, it is the absolute lack of care and total destruction of Uganda's education system by the current government that Uganda's young generation will live to hate NRM for very many years to come, if not forever.

That a government can just stand by and do nothing while the higher education system is being blatantly abused, is beyond comprehension. It is much easier to open up a University in Uganda than it is to open up an Indian little corner shop in UK.

What is happening in Uganda is precisely what usually prevails when PEASANTS take over governance of a nation, as is the case in Uganda. While Ugandans watch in amazement and horror as their country is being ripped apart by corruption across all Uganda's institutions, they need to remember that the so-called NRM liberators now fully in control of the country were just PEASANTS ..peasants who had nothing and came from very poor families indeed, hence the grabbing and stealing of everything they can get their hands on ..and of course hence the current rampant corruption we are witnessing.

Do you really think that if Dr. Lule was President of Uganda today, all these stupid business men would have been allowed to open up these useless Universities? Do you really think that if Binaisa was President today, Uganda's education system would have been allowed to fall to pieces?

Do you really think that if Mugisha Muntu was Uganda's President today, he would just sit by and let the current massive corruption take place? ..of course NOT. Incidentally, I understand West Nile is to open a University next year ..GOD HELP UGANDA!!!! Beautiful people, SHAME ABOUT THEIR LEADERS.
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+3 #3 Shikanga Enock 2011-12-20 19:34
All the above ideas stem from the fact either some people don't want to see their former Universities face competition or they just want to see a population of over 30million strungling for a dwindling higher education in same Universities.

The same opinions were aired in the case of Kyambogo University, Ndejje University, Uganda Christian University(UCU) , KIU etc when they were just starting; nothing strange.

What people should be saying is; time will tell not "they can't make it". After all, the people you say have messed up our country are graduates from the institutions that you cherish. More so, those same institutions started small to what they are 2day. Just give some of us a break.
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0 #4 Irene Kyomuhendo, Newcastle Business School 2011-12-21 08:45
Yes, Shikanga Enock, any Ugandan who cares about the country's future generation should RESIST the destruction of the nation's education system. Any sane Ugandan should have FEAR FOR CHANGE, the change that is hell bent on providing sub-standard education while ripping off hard working parents.

And so what, Shikanga Enock, if the same opinions were aired in the case of Kyambogo University, Ndejje University and KIU? SEVERAL WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT. And where are all those graduates being who have graduated from these Universities?

Are you telling me that you are totally oblivious to the current Ugandan graduates massive unemployment? Surely, you must know the basic criteria for 'DEMAND AND SUPPLY'. Further more,Shikanga Enock, just go to the top universities in The UK or USA (Imperial College, London School of Economics, Kings College, Harvard, Stanford or Princeton) and you will find a good number of Ugandans doing their Masters ..and you know what, all these Ugandans graduated from Makerere and Mbarara University ...SO THERE!!!
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+1 #5 Edward 2011-12-22 10:11
Given that it's one of the top private universities in Zambia. Ugandans remain expectant.
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+1 #6 Shikanga Enock 2011-12-22 15:46
Now Irene Kyomuhendo, you've simply confirmed what i said earlier. I don't care whether there are Makerere or Mbarara University students pursuing Masters in the Universities you've stated.

These being government institutions there is that unfair advantage over private institutions when it comes to scooping scholarships abroad(others have to foot the bills which gets costly offcourse) however, that does not give you an edge in real knowledge terms.
Makerere has definitely built a legacy over a period of time.

However, that is not my point. What i want you and others to know is there are graduates from those same universities you stated who can't live up to the modern trends that employers want and are currently jobless. Who is then to blame..???.

You asked me where graduates from these private universities go. Some are absorbed in the private sector, few in Government and others in their businesses. Also, am not oblivious to the current ugandan graduates' massive unemployment but then i find it rediculous to associate the problem with the private universities.

The modern trend is choose where to pursue your higher education from then come out and prove yourself. Employers no longer base on the top and bottom in hierrachy afterall we all meet before the same panelists to choose.

Don't get disturbed when a graduate from Cavendish University wins you in an interview. That complacency has no place in the modern world. In any case, the criteria for determining the top or bottom university has always been contested and in Uganda, same lecturers keep recycling in all these universitites.

New recruites today whether from Makerere, Havard or Cavendish have to under go training to meet employer's needs; you know that. Neither is their performance judged basing on their institutions of origin.

So Irene Kyomuhendo, allow me agree to disagree. More so with modern information tech, knowledge can be obtained from any where provided there are facilities. Do private universities lack them??. Yet these universities were actually granted licences to operate by a body of competent people. Do you then doubt their competence?.... .I HAVE SIGNED OUT.
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0 #7 stephen 2011-12-25 18:34
While Kyomuhendo may have a point on the quality of the graduates from Private Universities; Public Universities have had their reputation severely damaged. Lecturers who teach in the Public University do moonlighting in Private Universities and do a better job than in the Public Universities.

The reason is that there is supervision which is steadily running out from Public Universities.
We only need to support NCHE to keep doing a good job deligently.
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+1 #8 Carl Peters 2011-12-27 19:50
In my view, Irene Kyomuhendo comes across as a citizen of Uganda, who truly cares about education in her country, especially when the current malpractices in Uganda will ,without a shadow of doubt, have a massive negative impact on Uganda's future generation.

Uganda needs people like Kyomuhendo, who are prepared to speak out, not for today's Ugandans but for Uganda's future generation. Yes, Shikanga Enock, you are right, there are graduates from Makerere and Mbarara University who can't live up to the modern trends that employers want and are currently jobless ... and this is due to VERY POOR teaching standards in many Ugandan Universities, emanating from the fact that, University Education in Uganda is more of a business venture.

I am really amazed at your naivety, Shikanga Enock .. you don't seem to comprehend the 'recruitment and selection process' of many companies and institutions the world over. Like it or not, it is a FACT that when human resources departments are going through applications, take it from me, THEY WILL ALWAYS CHECK WHAT UNIVERSITY the applicant attended.

Further still, be advised, Shikanga Enock, that a Makerere or Mbarara University or Mukono University graduate with a 2:2 for example, will get a job ahead of a graduate with 1:1 from any other University in Uganda .. you very well know, just as much as I do, that you CAN BUY A DEGREE from most private universities in Uganda (also in Kenya, by the way) As for the Cavendish University being managed in Zambia, I thought I should point it out that Zambia has VERY POOR EDUCATION STANDARDS .. exceedingly poor.

Of the top 100 African Universities, Zambia University languishes a poor 82. National University of Rwanda (45), Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique(57) and Universite de Ouagadougou,Bur kina Faso (64), are well ahead of poor Zambia.

Zambia therefore doesn't have the basic credentials required to run private universities. I am in total agreement with Kyomuhendo on this one ..Uganda government needs to get its act in order and put a stop to this blatant abuse of higher education in Uganda.

Incidentally, Kyomuhendo, I note that you are studying at Newcastle Business School and let me hope that you are doing an MBA. I am happy for you, girl. Newcastle Business School is in the same league as London School of Economics, Durham or Yale.

Good on you girl, and despite the current economic turmoil, rest assured, Kyomuhendo, that you will be snapped up by good companies should you wish to stay in the UK for work experience. Good luck!!
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+2 #9 Semakula 2011-12-28 08:48
James Tarman and Irene Kyomuhendo:
1. Some of these writings I am reading seem to be out of desperation and fear of competition. In fact, that's total sabotage and lack of patriotism.

You shd support education by any means possible. Instead of advising, you seem to be uttering negative criticism! Ugandan population is growing and the whole they all can't be absorbed in just the few other institutions.

I read something like 'Two wrongs don't make a right': Ok, Should we sit back and leave our children at home? or should we pile them in Makerere University where there's no longer Quality Assurance but just a NAME??

EDUCATE, ADVISE AND DO NOT RUBBISH SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE. We have no time to go back to the roots!
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+3 #10 Shikanga Enock 2011-12-30 13:42
Carl, as you continue masquerading to be caring about the quality of education in Uganda, i want you to note the level of contradiction in your article.

If you doubt the quality of education in Ugandan universities, does this leave out Makerere?? Where else in Uganda have you heard faculties fighting over new students and duplicating courses??

Carl, you are satisfied with the recruitment process yet it is visible that the level of service delivery in many farms is dwindling. Now, if the recruiting farms follow those procedures, in your thinking doesn't this call for a change in recruiting methodology??

I thought the quality of man power recruited is to partly blame. The concerned HRs have even gone as far as recommending certain changes in public university curricullum.

Am talking about real issues here. Now as i write, some farms are dropping this complacent mentality and are simply being open to somebody who can prove themselves regardles of their institutions of origin.

Forexample, do you in your thinking need to have stepped in Makerere university to be an IT guru??. I do not under estimate Makerere but it has its strengths and weaknesses and the weaknesses are to the advantage of private Universities.

If there was no problem, private Universities would not find a fertile ground. So learn how to live with the fact that public Universities can not be the ultimate answer to our educational needs in this error.

Carl, let me inform you that a pass degree in a public University does not equate to a first class in a private university. Take it or leave it; i won't dwell on that.

You also talked about a practice of buying degrees in private Universities; which ones are those???. Is there any other than Makerere University in Uganda which is surrounded by fraud when it comes to issuance of degrees???

That is why they keep making changes in their systems to curb the vice and the private Universities come in the market well aware of a way forward. For your own information, no sane administrator would promote the vice however, it may happen if a university has loopholes in its academic systems.

That is why such cases are very minimal in private universitites if any. You don't seem to know that the level of supervision in private Universities is so high that public universities can't much.

Regarding the 100 top universities, different farms have come up with contradicting findings and this has raised questions on the credibility of the entire exercise.

There are so many variables in such an exercise that keep changing over time. An institution of 1970s cannot be the same in 2012 unfortunately, instead of improving, some just tend to deteriorate; again to the advantage of others. Even basing on YOUR questionable findings, Zambia is among the 100. Why isn't it outside the top 100 league?????

Now, for you to say Zambia has no credentials to run a private university, against which bench mark are you making such statements?? In any case, i've said this time and again, Cavendish University Uganda is established under the law by competent bodies both in Zambia and Uganda.

I know you have a problem with the foreign affiliations such a university has and now they seem to be a threat to your institutions of origin which is offcourse agaisnt your interests. Better know this "In the 21st century, competition is so healthy".

Carl, i did not want to ask why Irene Kyomuhendo could not pursue MBA from her undergraduate institution here in Uganda since she is free to choose and can take on any opportunity that comes her way however, that alone can as well confirm her lack of confidence in our education system more so her institution of origin to the point emphasised by me and others.

Carl, apart from portraying how defensive you are, its high time you new that in the job market, you market the quality of your institution not the vise versa. Let your service delivery speak for you. "By the way, Mukono University is not a public university rather a private university that begun amidst critism like others but now, you seem to appreciate its products". Just give it time; you'll soon appreciate most of the private universities here and maybe else where.
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0 #11 naki 2011-12-31 07:08
We need to go back to the basics and reestablish a uniform, competetive and regulated education system!!!Uganda is floating on corrupt aand sick air.
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