Friday April 21 2017

Public universities are understaffed - ministry

By Nelson Wesonga


Uganda’s public universities have fewer than 50 per cent of the academic staff they need, the Education ministry says.
It says the understaffing is affecting teaching, research and supervision of the students in the universities.
The most affected are the new ones including Busitema, Muni, Lira and Soroti universities.
None of the above has more than 45 lecturers yet their student populations are in hundreds.
Through its Financial Year 2017/18 budget estimates, the Education ministry, says the Finance ministry should allocate Shs10 billion to the sector to employ more tutors.
It remains to be seen if the Treasury, which is alive to the government’s focus on roads, rail and energy infrastructure, will allocate money to recruit more lecturers.
Whatever, it decides, according to the Education ministry, Makerere University has 140 unfilled slots.
Among the vacant posts the university wants to fill are 50 lecturing posts, senior lecturers (10), assistant lecturers (17), custodians (21), administrative secretaries (20) and 22 administrative assistants, in total 140 vacant posts.
However, in the next fiscal year, the university plans to recruit only 133 more staff.
Kyambogo University, which has 294 vacant posts, however, plans to recruit 306 staff in the next financial year. It intends to recruit assistant librarians, accounts assistants, a custodian, counsellor, data entrants, bursar, driver and an estates officer.
Kyambogo University also has a vacancy for a farm manager, officer attendants, records assistants, a university secretary, internal auditors, a nurse and a head binder.
Like Makerere University, Kyambogo University has vacancies for assistant lecturers, lecturers as well as senior lecturers.
Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) has filled only 21 per cent of it’s staff slots.
The ministry says at MUST, the most critically understaffed departments are those of Biochemistry, Physiotherapy, Nursing, Pathology, Radiology, ENT, Chemistry, Biomedical and Electronics Engineering.
Muni University has 125 vacant posts though it plans to fill only 19 posts, namely lecturers.
Soroti University has 107 vacant slots but intends to recruit only 44 staff whereas Gulu University, which has 159 vacant slots, intends to recruit 85 staff during the 2017/18 fiscal year.
Busitema University has 343 vacant positions. However, the university intends to recruit 29 lecturers to add to the 16 it currently has.
Lira University intends to recruit 93 staff to add to the 94 now on its payroll.
In some universities, due to the few staff, the few lecturers have to put in more hours, which causes fatigue and reduces on the quality of services offered.