The Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) has suspended 22 courses after they failed to attract substantive numbers of applicants.
The university rector, Dr Ahmed Kawesa Sengendo, says they can't run the courses in the 2017/18 academic year due to the small number of applicants.
15 of the suspended courses were being offered at the main campus in Mbale, three at the Kibuli campus and four at Kabojja female campus.
The affected courses include Masters of Arts (Islamic Studies English version), Masters of Arts in Religion, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Bachelor of Development Studies, Diploma in Library and Information Science, Master of Science in Environmental Science, Diploma in Business Administration and a post-graduate diploma in Project Planning and Management.
The university has also suspended a Masters of Business Administration, Post-graduate diploma in Public Administration, Post-graduate diploma in Human Resource Management, Diploma in Guidance and Counselling, a Post-graduate diploma in Education Management and Administration and post-graduate diploma in Management and Teaching at Higher Education and Certificate in Early Childhood Education.
Those suspended at the Kibuli campus include Bachelor of Statistics, Bachelor of Computer Science and Bachelor of Development Studies. Those suspended at the female campus are Diploma in Law, Diploma in Business Studies, Bachelor of Development Studies, and Bachelor of Procurement and Logistics Management.
President, Yoweri Museveni has severally complained about some of the arts courses offered by universities in the country, saying they are irrelevant.
He has in the past singled out courses such as Bachelor of Development Studies, Masters of Arts in Religion, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Bachelor of Arts in Economics as irrelevant.
Museveni has constantly expressed the need for more science and technology based programs, arguing that the 21st century is driven by unprecedented advances in science and technology as well as research and development.
The decision by IUIU to suspend the courses was reached during the executive board's 255th meeting held on September 7th 2017.
Sengendo, attributes the decline of applicants for the courses to the increase in the number of campuses being opened by universities in major towns across the country including Mbale where the IUIU main campus is located.
"This is a serious challenge since the University depends mainly on student fees to finance its activities," Dr Sengendo said. Adding that; "the university needs to find funds and strategies to do more marketing and search for students."
The university executive board recently proposed to use recruiting agents and offer them incentives to attract more students for the university. Under this arrangement, it was proposed and approved that a recruitment agent will be paid Shs 50,000 on each of the student recruited beginning the 2018 January intake.
The university has also proposed to increase fees for registration from the current Shs 80,600 to Shs 150, 000 in order to offset loss of income.
Currently, all the four campus of IUIU have a total of 8,056 students. The main campus has an enrollment of 3,761 students while there are 3, 334 students at Kibuli, 701 at Kaboja and 260 at the West Nile campus in Arua.
Dr Abdul-Aziz Alsabail, the Saudi Arabia based IUIU University Council chairperson, says they have to do whatever is possible to increase student enrollment since the university is heavily dependent on tuition.
IUIU was formed out of an agreement between the government of Uganda and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). OIC conceptualized the formation of the university in 1974. But was it was established in February 1988.
IUIU was established to serve students from English-speaking Muslim communities in Southern and Eastern Africa. Uganda currently has a total of 50 universities and other degree awarding institutions.