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Eng. Michael Odongo

NCHE, Engineers Registration Board/Institute to weed out quacks

The National Council for higher Education (NCHE), Uganda Engineers Registration Board (ERB) and Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers (UIPE) have signed a tripartite agreement under which the three institutions will work together to uphold the engineering profession by eliminating quacks I the trade.

The tri will ensure that only accredited engineering courses are taught by universities; only graduates of accredited courses and with requisite pupil- experience are registered and allowed to practice in the country.

During the signing of the memorandum of understanding Pamela  Kalyegira who represented the executive director NCHE said students who are duped to undertake courses that are not accredited by the council risk losing their investment as their degrees will not be recognised. They will not be allowed to register to practice in the country, but also to pursue further engineering studies. She said universities that enrol students for un-accredited courses risk having their operating licenses revoked.

In Uganda, NCHE is responsible for regulation of higher education in the country, including licensing and supervising higher education institutions. The ERB is the body that certifies that engineers have gone through the requisite training and experience and therefore give engineers renewable practicing licenses. The UIPE is a statutory engineers institute responsible for mantaining standards and quality control among the engineering professionals in the country.

The three institutions are therefore responsible for quality assurance, supervision and regulation of the professional in the country.

According to the ERB registrar, Eng. Ronald Namugera, “In Uganda, a registered engineer is someone who has gained sound understanding of engineering principles; ability to integrate existing technology and off the shelf research results into engineering practice and ability to be innovative in applying scientific knowledge to solve complex engineering problems.”   

ERB said on their website that  following the new standards assessment, all engineers who attained 'Member of UIPE” status before the commencement of the UIPE/ERB Joint Assessment Committee (JAC) are required to resubmit themselves for re-assessment. This involves submitting a technical and career reports plus attending a board Interview. They are also required to apply for registration by filling ERB Form ERA 1, attaching copies of their university certificates for the Board's review and processing.

Engineering is one of the professions with many impostors in the country. It is common place to hear masons, technicians of whatever type identify themselves as “engineer”  and in many instances have actually gone ahead to take up roles that require advanced engineering skills.

Over the last 5 years, the country has witnessed at least 4 major construction site accidents that have led to collapse of structures under and loss of life- all of which attributed to the works of unqualified people passing off as engineers or poor supervision by qualified engineers.

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