Parliament- Makerere University management yesterday insisted it will not scrap the 10 per cent tuition increment policy for new students even after they held a strike protesting the new intervention.
Under the new arrangement, all new students entering the university shall be expected to incur the 10 per cent increment until the Shs12 million unit cost target per science student and Shs6 million for those offering humanities is reached.
The university has also contracted new service providers who will be giving out meals to the 2,000 students at the agreed cost of Shs4,000 per student.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof John Ssentamu Ddumba, while appearing before the Parliamentary Education committee to defend the university’s budget said they had wanted to introduce a 50 per cent increment to catch up with the inflation but relaxed the fees to 10 per cent to avoid strikes.
“Each medicine student should be paying Shs12 million but we are charging only Shs4 million annually,” Dr Ddumba said adding that “Inflation keeps rising. The unit cost for humanities is supposed to be Shs6 millon per student but we still charge as less as Shs600,000 for some courses,” he said.
Last month, students held a strike protesting the management’s decision to scrap meals in the halls of residence and the 10 per cent tuition increment policy for the new students.
The council approved a 10 per cent fees increment for every new student at the university.
However, students led by their Guild President Mr Ivan Bwowe, went on strike opposing the two management decisions and demanded for the resignation of the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu, “because he has failed to manage the university”.
Even when some MPs insisted the increment be stayed, the management said the situation had run out of hand and they could not help.
“You know we are politicians and if we tell our voters that you are increasing every year, the situation is very frightening,” noted Ms Sarah Lanyero (Lamwo Woman MP).
But Prof Dumba explained to the MPs that tuition has remained constant since 2009 yet the cost of living is going up.
“So as of now, that is what it is,” he said.
Makerere University Council scrapped free meals to all students due to the high food prices and the financial squeeze at Uganda’s oldest university.
The council, the institution’s top governing body, resolved that every student on government sponsorship should instead be given a daily meal allowance of Shs2, 000.
But Prof Dumba said they are privatising feeding and had agreed to give three meals a day at a price of Shs4,000 with new service providers.