Guild Vice President Judith Nalukwago
Makerere Student Leaders Meet the Parliamentary Committee on Education to discuss tuition problems. File Photo

Makerere Student Leaders Meet the Parliamentary Committee on Education to discuss tuition problems

Makerere University student leaders led by the Guild Vice President Judith Nalukwago, met with Members of Parliament yesterday to discuss tuition problems that have resulted in a number of strikes at the institutions.

In absence of the University Guild President Julius Kateregga who was under police custody for attempting to lead protests, the student’s leaders met with the Parliamentary Committee on Education.

The committee was tasked by the Speaker of Parliament Kadaga to come up with a report on the state of affairs at the university that has had over three weeks of demonstration now.

The committee took the decision following the second week of strikes by students against the 15% tuition increment policy.

Protests by students arise from the fact that they believe the increment was signed without their proper consent. Although the University management accepted to remove the 15% on functional fees, the students insist that they want the policy removed also on the tuition.

On 29th October 2019, the University Council held an emergency meeting and decided to halt any further increment on functional fees, but kept the 15% increase on tuition fees for the next three years.

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This decision was apparently not acceptable to a section of the students and a few of them till today have continued with their riots mostly off-campus. 

According to the students, this policy is very unfair not only to those on government but also those on private sponsorship who have to toil hard to get their tuition.

However, following a student’s meeting with Parliament, it was confirmed that as a result of fees increase, about 1000 students have discontinued their studies. 

The students also told Parliament that because of the high tuition, the University had to publish names of fees defaulters in local newspapers where the names occupied about 8 pages in each newspaper publication.

“Makerere university even reached the extent of re-advertising some courses because students had not applied to join them due to high tuition,” one student only identified as Judith Nalukwago implied.

Meanwhile, the University through the Vice-Chancellor said that despite the student’s continuous strikes, they are not ready to extend the examinations dates.

Examinations as earlier planned will start on 18th November 2019 but the University says this will not change and also that there will be no extension to the Semester. 

Meanwhile, it is still not confirmed whether students will be willing to resume their school duties and responsibilities when the University declined to revise the whole policy in general both for tuition and functional fees.

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By John Dalton Kigozi