The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has directed the Copperbelt University (CBU) to continue running the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Dental Surgery Learning Programmes until further notice.
This is comes barely three days after the Health Professions Council of Zambia banned CBU from administering the three medical programmes at the institution following failure to meet the laid down standards.
In a statement, The Higher Education Authority (HEA) Director General Professor Stephen Simukanga said as mandated by the Higher Education Act No. 4 of 2013 and Statutory Instrument No. 25 of 2016, HEA is the custodian of all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Zambia, be it public or private, and has the authority to accredit Learning Programmes at these HEIs.
“For this reason, in May 2018, the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Dental Surgery Learning Programmes at CBU were audited by experts acting on behalf of HEA for purposes of accreditation. Preliminary findings of the audit indicated that the Learning Programmes had areas that needed improvement,” Prof. Simukanga said.
He said following the findings, HEA began a process of guiding CBU in thoroughly addressing the Learning Programmes’ deficiencies and had asked the HEI to develop an implementation plan over a period of not more than one year.
Prof. Simukanga said this was expertly deemed as a sufficient period of time in which to rectify all of the Learning Programmes’ deficiencies.
“Moreover, as it was expertly determined that the shortcomings of the Learning Programmes did not warrant the closure of Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Dental Surgery Learning Programmes as “continuous improvement” of these Learning Programmes is instituted, CBU shall continue providing these Learning Programmes while they address the shortcomings that have been identified,” he charged.
On Friday, the Health Professional Council of Zambia (HPCZ) ordered CBU to immediately stop offering two programmes in the School of Medicine for failing to meet set standards.
Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Aaron Mujajati instructed the institution to discontinue offering Bachelors in Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, including Bachelor of Dental Surgery.
This was after inspections at the University revealed over-enrolment of students, inadequate lecturers, engaging unregistered lecturers practising without licences among other violations.
Dr. Mujajati added that the institution exceeded the accepted lecture – student ratio after over-enrolling by 494 candidates for the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Programme.
He also charged that his organisations cannot be assured of the safety of the public once exposed to the services of graduates in the above programmes.
Dr. Mujajati advised Copperbelt University that the two programmes will only be reinstated after all recommendations have been addressed.