DHERST: Universities must undergo audits

All institutions have to undergo audits by independent international teams to meet the requirements set by the Higher Education Act when applying for university status.

Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister, Pila Niningi, explains this is to ensure those institutions meet certain requirements, like the number of students, facilities, lecturers’ qualification, assets and programs of study, among others.

He says those standards are in place because there are institutions claiming to be universities without following the requirements stipulated under the law.

“This has to stop. We must produce the best. So in the future if people want to register, they must follow the requirements. We are there to help. That is why this case (filed by IBS) is so important to us,” Minister Niningi says.

Following the dismissal of the case last week by the National Court, the minister is now inviting the Institute of Business Studies to go back to the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology and apply for university status.

“Institutions must meet high quality of education to get recognised. They have to meet the required standards in order to have university status.

“We are also inviting IBS to come back again, to register. Do it properly,” the minister says.

He says IBS did not follow the required procedure, stipulated by the Higher Education Act.

“That’s why we had to challenge that (in court) and for them to come back and do the right thing, by first of all, putting an application and we have a team who will help,” he added.

“Until such time they come back, we sit down and talk, we will give them a university status.

“The certificate that was given ‘under protest’ is no longer effective.

“They can operate as an institute but not as a university, until such time they come and meet the requirements,” says Minister Niningi.

(Minister Pila Niningi, right, with Secretary Fr Jan Czuba, left)

Sally Pokiton