In Summary
  • The issue: Makerere University management.
  • Our view: Makerere University ought to be seen to do better when managing students’ academics since we all know it teaches management modules in several of its faculties.

On December 29, Makerere Visitation Committee handed its report to President Museveni, with a number of observations and recommendations to address the diverse ills discovered during its investigation. Central to the recommendations, the committee said the obsolete IT system at the university had made the system vulnerable and unscrupulous officials were taking advantage of it to alter student marks.

The report notes that university officials, who have administrative rights, left the loading of examination marks to unauthorised personnel, especially registrars, administrative assistants and part-time staff, thus compromising the integrity of the process.

Makerere University, the pinnacle of highest learning in the country, ought to be seen to do better when managing students’ academics since we all know it teaches management modules in several of its faculties.

It should be exemplary. To entertain an archaic way of managing students’ marks does not place them at the pedestal we know they belong. The lapses in handling the marks cast unnecessary doubt on the quality of degrees received and this causes unrest.

During a student head-count exercise, the committee report also indicated that a total of 4,235 students turned up for verification, but their names were not on the university nominal roll. It is not possible the students just found themselves in lecture rooms without anyone admitting them.

This is where the institution is called to account on the real head-count. Makerere needs to clean up their act so that transparency is demonstrated on the actual number of students the institution has.

And on the sticky matter of students’ strikes, the committee established that students were highly discontented with respect to the fees policy and charges, examinations and results management. They also noted that there was general discontent resulting from staff strikes, absenteeism of some staff, sexual harassment, among others.

Makerere has, for a while, been witnessing recurring strikes partly for reasons aforementioned, and surely, solutions for the student unrest must be addressed so that the institution serves the purpose for which it is intended.

They also recommended that Makerere University decongest by transferring undergraduate programmes to other universities and institutes so that Makerere focuses on graduate training and research. This should have been key among the core suggestions that ought to have been discussed earlier and resolved.

The positive now is that Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice chancellor, has since constituted an 11-member committee to study the report and communicate the university position to President Museveni. This is a wise move in an effort to get a lasting solution to the perennial problems and challenges the age-old institution has been going through.

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