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NCHE limits medical program intakes to once annually.

NCHE limits medical program intakes to once annually.

Prof Mary Okwakol, the NCHE executive director (Courtesy photo)

In a recent development, the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has instituted a new directive limiting admissions into medical and health sciences programs to once a year.

The decision, communicated through a circular from Prof Mary Okwakol, the NCHE executive director, aims to enhance the quality of graduates and address challenges faced by the government in managing the increasing number of students in these programs.

According to Prof Okwakol, the Ministry of Education and Sports, along with the Ministry of Health Inter-Ministerial Standing Coordination Committee, has identified challenges related to student internship placements.

The key issues include insufficient supervising staff, limited facilities with necessary equipment, and budgetary constraints, primarily attributed to institutions having two intakes a year.

A circular, dated December 1, was sent to all vice-chancellors and principals, urging them to implement this decision promptly.

However, private institutions have cited the need for flexibility, considering the diverse academic timelines and international student admissions. Many express willingness to work with NCHE to find suitable adjustments, indicating that the situation might not be entirely rigid.

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