At least 238 students have been admitted at Makerere University on mature entry scheme. According to Mr Alfred Namoah, the Makerere University academic registrar, 378 candidates appeared for the January examinations and only 63 per cent of them passed.

However, he said it is not a guarantee that all those who went through will find placement considering that there are those who were not taken in the last intake because of space. “There are those who passed last year but were not taken because of few places. They will now compete with those who passed this year and we will draw the line,” Mr Namoah said.

Every year, government sponsors 4,000 students who have excelled in their Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education exams in the five public universities of Gulu, Busitema, Mbarara, Kyambogo and Makerere. Mature age entry scheme contributes five per cent of the 4,000 students admitted on a course on a government scholarship. It is for students who have been out of the formal education system for not less than six years.

Scheme suspended
The University Senate in 2007 suspended the scheme and cancelled 207 degrees of students who allegedly forged results to gain admission between 2001 and 2005. However, the ban was lifted in 2009 after a review in the scheme was done. National aptitude tests were to be administered by the National Council for Higher Education.

University officials are, however, now concerned that majority slots at the longest institution in the country are predominantly taken by children from the central region. They have asked the government to intervene for regional balance.

“While the number of A-Level applicants has doubled over the past 10 years, the university has maintained a constant intake figure over the same period. What is more challenging is that children from the central dominant the university intake,” the Director Planning and Development, Mr John Wabwire, said.

However, the district quota system which admits 1,000 students of the 4,000 is intended to ensure that each part of Uganda sends students to public universities on government sponsorship. But with the increasing number of districts (112) from the original 80, more students are likely to miss out since the admission scheme is not likely to change next academic year.