Thought and Ideas
Corruption, power struggles and intrigue sink Kyambogo University
Posted Sunday, November 3 2013 at 00:00
Kyambogo, one of the five public universities in the country, could be just 10 years old, but the chaos therein have not let the institution grow. Sunday Monitor’s Frederic Musisi digs deep into the institution’s woes.
The architects of the merger of three institutions to form Kyambogo University in 2003 could never have anticipated the chaos that is currently bedevilling the institution.
For almost two years now, the institution continues to make headlines; with students and lecturers’ strikes, protracted legal battles, interdictions, and arrests of officials, yet this is all only a tip of the iceberg.
So much is amiss as events continue to unfold in the 10-year-old institution yet the government just looks on, indolently hinting that a solution is in the offing while other authorities like Police, Auditor General, and Inspector General of Government (IGG), tasked last year by Parliament to keenly scrutinise the problems of Kyambogo, are yet to produce a report.
A report released in 2007 by the IGG, following the first major strike that led to a temporary closure of the institution was simply shelved, and recommendations to Parliament provided therein to take action were ignored which now casts more doubt on the upcoming reports.
What went wrong?
Ms Jessica Alupo, the Minister of Education and Sports, thinks the process of merging these institutions “was never streamlined at all.”
The institutions: Uganda Polytechnic Kyambogo (UPK), the Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo (ITEK) and the Uganda National Institute of Special Education (Unise), all on Kyambogo hill, were brought under one roof, a move that sought to create a third public university but was the start of problems.
They were established: UPK in 1928, ITEK in 1945, and UNISE in 1988.
UPK started as a small technical school on Makerere hill and was transferred to Kyambogo hill in 1958 as Kampala Technical Institute, before it was renamed Uganda Technical College and finally UPK.
ITEK started as a government Teacher Training College in 1945 at Nyakasura, in Fort Portal, and was transferred to Ruharo and then Ntare hill, all in Mbarara town, before being transformed into a National Teachers’ College and later ITEK in 1989.
Academically, ITEK was affiliated to Makerere University and was already offering the Bachelor of Education degree on mature entry and in terms of infrastructure had the best buildings.
On the other hand UNISE started as a Department of Special Education at ITEK in 1988, and later became an autonomous institution by an Act of Parliament in 1998.
The Education minister then, Prof. Khiddu Makubuya, issued a statutory instrument on July 18, 2003, forming the university, in accordance with the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act of 2001 and the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions’ (Establishment of Kyambogo University) instruments of 2003.
Although this establishment had been conceived as far back as 1999, implementation was met by resistance from UNISE, which enjoyed privileges like funding from donor agencies like DANIDA, NORAD, among others.
ITEK on the other hand boasted of the best physical structures which gave them an upper hand to house the headquarters of the university, including the Vice Chancellor’s seat.
Ideally, the three institutions were at different stages of development, had different administrative settings, ambitions, staffing; which were all ‘hastily’ weaved together.