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Students want court to suspend pharmacy course, exams at USIU

USIU students demo
A section of USIU students take part in a demonstration outside their campus in Nairobi on March 28, 2019. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Pharmacy students at the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) have sued the institution for allegedly failing to administer the course to Kenyan standards.

The 196 students now want the High Court to stop the university from teaching and administering any examinations on the course until the institution fully complies with training regulations.

“Pending the hearing and determination of this petition, a conservatory order be issued prohibiting the respondent from carrying out any academic activities which includes offering and administering any exams, marking and releasing results for exams sat by the petitioners and offering any classes for the petitioners,” reads one of the orders sought by the students who filed a suit at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi.

The students want the university compelled to comply within the next one year to allow them a smooth transition to formal practice.

The move by the USIU students is a departure from the past where pharmacy students would mainly direct blame to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB) and the Commission for University Education.

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KMPDB accreditation

The students are apprehensive about their chance to practise in Kenya as pharmacists since the course is not fully accredited by KMPDB.

They attribute the board’s failure to accredit the course to the university’s laxity in putting in place basic training facilities and industry linkages.

Among the board’s functions are approving training institutions for medical practitioners, licensing the institutions and curriculum, and supervising the internship programme.

The students allege that the course being offered did not met the requirement.

They claim that with just a year left before their expected graduation in May 2020, they are yet to undertake the compulsory attachment at health facilities since the university has failed to enter agreement with any hospital.

They further alleged that at the time of their admission in 2015, the university had no laboratories as it had claimed in the advertisement for the course.

They claim that the human anatomy laboratory was constructed three years after they commenced studies, adding that even after its construction they have never used the facility for any training.

USIU-Africa is further said to be using a grading system that is different from Kenya’s standard for assessment of courses for the degree of Bachelor of Pharmacy, which it had promised to address when they were admitted.

But despite students raising the issue constantly through various forums, the university allegedly neglected their plea until August 2018 when it proposed to change the grading system for the entire university.

Reject proposal

The other students rejected the proposal but the pharmacy students alleged that they accepted the proposal, which was one of their grievances.

The university’s senate in January approved the change of grading system for the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, but allegedly reverted to the previous one without consultation.

The students further accuse the university administration of breaching the provision of its own charter and right to fair administrative actions among others, which they seek to address through court.

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