MISR in Spotlight Over 'Irregular Admissions' Top story

3415 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Makerere University Institute of Social Research MISR is in the spotlight for admitting students without following the university procedures.

Makerere University Institute of Social Research (MISR) is in the spotlight for admitting students without following the university procedures.
  
The anomalies affect students who were admitted to undertake doctoral studies in the 2017 intake.
 
On October 20, 2016, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) held its Academic Board to, among others, endorse a request by MISR to go ahead with the admissions.  Dr. Florence Ebila, then acting director at MISR presented the list of applicants who had been admitted and asked the College Board to approve them.
 
The Board however, declined to endorse the admissions after members raised queries on one of the applicants, Vincent Nuwagaba. Nuwagaba, one of the three Ugandan students on the list, had in 2014 lost his PhD fellowship at MISR due to health related issues.
 
College Board members resolved to halt the entire process saying they needed to be furnished with detailed explanations on issues of criteria of selection of candidates. The board also insisted that there was need for MISR to address the issue of Nuwagaba's health before awarding him a fellowship to undertake doctoral studies.
  
MISR was given up to November 2, 2016 for the queries to be addressed. However, the university academic staff went on strike on October 26, a strike that culminated in the closure of the university on November 1st. The closure happened just a day before the Board was due to sit again to consider MISR applications.
 
Instead of going back to CHUSS board, MISR jumped a step and directly wrote to the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, Assoc. Prof. Okello Ogwang, to immediately approve the students and direct issuance of admission letters.
  
Assoc. Prof. Ogwang however referred the matter back to the College Board to approve the students' admissions.

At its College Board held yesterday Wednesday January 18 at the College Board, the same matter was presented and members refused to approve admissions unless MISR furnishes them with information showing the clear procedure of admission.
  
Prof. Ogwang however referred the matter back to CHUSS to approve the students' admissions.
  
At its Academic Board held on January 18, 2017, the same matter was presented and members refused to approve admissions unless MISR furnishes them with information showing the procedure of admission.
 
Prof. Edward Kirumira, CHUSS Principal, told URN that it was wrong for MISR to appeal the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT) and the deputy vice chancellor since the college had not approved them.
 
//Cue in: "For some reason…
Cue out: … where we are."//
  
Kirumira adds that while students have already reported, the College Board still reserves the right to decide as long as they find the procedure still wanting.
  
//Cue in: "As they are now…
Cue out: …we have not endorsed."//
  
Even before admissions were issued out, students were called to begin studies at MISR at the beginning of the 2017 intake on January 2. URN has exclusively learnt that students underwent orientation on Friday January 7.
  
Assoc. Prof. David Owiny, the deputy director at DRGT, says the senate admissions board will on January 24 decide on the matter. He however noted that the board's decision will depend on recommendations made by the CHUSS College Board.
  
//Cue in: "The board of…
Cue out: …done by the board."//
  
Asked why students were allowed to report without admission letters, Prof. Owiny denied knowledge of the students but said the senate board will decide whether it was irregular or not.
 
//Cue in: "The Board will decide…
Cue out: …in this case."//

Prof Mahmood Mamdani, the MISR Director, when contacted on phone on Saturday, downplayed the claims saying the Institute followed all the necessary procedures before admitting the students. He, however, asked a URN reporter to send him a formal request for information. URN sent a formal email to [email protected], but we had not received any response at the time of filing this story.
 
Since 2011, MISR has been running a multidisciplinary PhD programme in Social Studies specialising in areas of Political Studies, Political Economy, Historical Studies and Cultural Studies. Funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) based in Canada, the programme aims to create a pool of scholars in the third world to provide solutions to problems within their societies.
  
Earlier in 2016, MISR advertised for seven places for the interdisciplinary Master of Philosophy/ PhD in Social Studies for the 2016/ 2017 academic year.
 
Out of a total of 69 candidates who applied, seven were recommended for admission.
  
In August, MISR admitted seven students but Prof. Edward Kirumira, the CHUSS principal said at the time that the college which supervises MISR needed to be furnished with detailed explanations on issues of criteria of selection of the candidates. 

 

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