A senior lecturer at Makerere University has been stopped from teaching undergraduate courses after students filed complaints against him. The students of Industrial Chemistry accused Associate Prof. George William Nyakairu of making them fail exams by setting questions whose content was not taught and never appeared on the course outlines.
The students of Industrial Chemistry accused Associate Prof. George William Nyakairu of making them fail exams by setting questions whose content was not taught and never appeared on the course outlines. The students had demanded that the professor’s services at the Department of Chemistry be terminated.
On Wednesday last week, a decision was taken after a three-hour closed door meeting that was prompted by a students’ demonstration over unfair retakes. The meeting which took place at the School of Physical Sciences resolved to withdraw Associate Professor Nyakairu from undergraduate teaching.
The students of Industrial Chemistry presented a petition to the department and school authorities accusing Prof Nyakairu of failing them by awarding what they termed as unrealistic retakes, expelling them from his classes and using incompetent teaching assistants. The teaching assistants include a one Kenneth Lubwama, who the students claim has accumulated retakes.
The resolution to withdraw Prof. Nyakairu was announced by Dr. Juma Kasozi, the dean, school of Physical Sciences who was flanked by lecturers from the Department of Chemistry.
Dr Kasozi told students after the meeting that Professor Nyakairu will be assigned to handle graduate training until the school gets further clarifications from the relevant authorities.
The school and department administrators also resolved to recall marks that were already online and to remark the examination scripts. The dean assured students that Prof Nyakairu would not be the one to remark their scripts. Professor Nyakairu could not be reached as he was out of office at the time of filing this report. His known telephone number was also unavailable.
Dr Kasozi said the head of the Chemistry Department has up to April 10 to give the school authorities a new set of marks in line with the students’ grievances. The remarking is also supposed to factor in issues like the correlation between what students studied in class and what was set in the exams.
The remarking will be in all the papers that the professor taught.
Prof Nyakairu joined the department of chemistry in the early 1990s and has been teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In November last year, he was admitted to the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) as a Fellow. RSC is one of the largest organisations in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences. The society has over 40,000 members from diverse areas of the chemical sciences across the globe.
Some of the courses he teaches at Makerere include Inorganic Chemical Technology, Separation Processes, Chemical Plant Design, Mathematics for Chemical Engineers and Introduction to Computing, which affect the entire Industrial Chemistry course.
Kasozi, however, cautioned students not expect free marks from the remark. He was also sad that Prof. Nyakairu was withdrawn from undergraduate teaching, saying ‘he is an authority in his area’. The dean announced that two lecturers, with Doctorate degrees in Chemical Engineering would soon join the department and fill the gap in the undergraduate classes.