Fees Strike Looms at Makerere University

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In short
Self-sponsored students convened a crisis meeting at Mitchell Hall on Sunday where they unanimously rejected the proposed annual cumulative 15 percent tuition increase policy that was purportedly recommended by the Students guild.

There is a looming strike at Makerere University by privately sponsored students over the 15 percent tuition increment. Self-sponsored students convened a crisis meeting at Mitchell Hall on Sunday where they unanimously rejected the proposed annual cumulative 15 percent tuition increase policy that was purportedly recommended by the Student's guild.
In their statement, the Self-sponsored students argue that the guild recommendation was a fraudulent set-up of the university administration to con council members into believing that consultations were made far and wide to pass the policy. 
They contend that the student's body has faced radical confrontation from university officials, especially the office of the Vice-chancellor for their dissent against the manner, in which the policy was fraudulently passed.

"Students that have sought for industrial action have either been severely threatened and intimidated into silence or have actually been suspended from the university. Similarly, intellectual discourse on social media fora such as WhatsApp groups have faced a purge by the university officials with blackmails, threats and intimidations, with several students coerced into silence by the university," reads the student's statement. 
They also expressed reservation on the Academic Integrated Management System-AIMS, new payment system that is set to commence with Semester one of the 2018/19 academic year. This is the system adopted by government last year from Kyambogo University's e-Kampus. 

Under this system, once a student logs on his/her account, it automatically generates a Payment Reference Number - PRN which is required to make any payment in the bank.
According to the institution, AIMS is designed to improve service delivery to students.
The system will also enable students apply, register, check for marks, pay tuition and clear for graduation without wasting time in long queues.The policy requires that a continuing student pay at least UGX 200,000 within the first three weeks of a semester. 

This was expected to have been paid by August 31st 2018 failure of which attracts a surcharge of UGX 20,000. Students say they are grossly concerned by AIMS and its implementation. "The system as it stands now, has imposed a bill of twenty thousand Shillings on every students' tuition due to failure to remit a commitment fee to the university, and yet the students have not yet been sufficiently educated on the operation of AIMS," the students observed. 

URN has established on good authority that several university staff especially college and school registrars have been training on the system. However, the training hasn't been concluded owing to the limited staff in the Senate IT unit following the suspension of Denis Mbabazi, Chris Ntwatwa and head of IT department in the academic registrar's Office, Mike Barongo pending investigation,
 "The students' community of Makerere University is hard-pressed, disgusted and frustrated by the reluctance of the university administration and the university council to address procedural breaches raised by the student body in as far as the tuition policy and AIMS is concerned," the students noted.
They also maintained their demand to the university council to revisit the fraudulent recommendations of the 7-man committee and revisit its position on the tuition policy and AIMS. They also asked the council to immediately   cease coercion, blackmail and intimidation of dissenting views and opinions of the student's body as these are freedoms are expressly protected under the sovereign laws of the Republic of Uganda.  


About the author

Davidson Ndyabahika
Davidson Ndyabahika is a Journalism major from Makerere University and is passionate about investigative and data journalism with special interest in feature story telling.

He has gone through digital and multi-media training both at Ultimate Multimedia Consult, and has attended Data Journalism Sessions at ACME to enrich his capacity in data journalism.

Davidson has previously freelanced with The Campus Times, The Observer, Chimp reports and URN. He is currently reporting under Education. He is also passionate about reporting on environment, health, crime and political satire writing.

Follow him on Twitter: @dndyaba