Students shouldn’t resort to violence
Posted Tuesday, February 19 2013 at 02:00
Makerere University largely runs on money generated from private students’ tuition and the delay in collecting it hampers the smooth running of the institution’s activities in form of salaries for staff, research, and other teaching aids.
A section of Makerere University students have been at loggerheads with the administration over a new tuition payment policy which was approved in the 2006/7 academic year.
Last Monday, the students staged a strike protesting the policy that would see private students paying at least 60 per cent of their fees in the first six weeks with this semester’s deadline fixed on March 8.
The disgruntled students did the same yesterday, paralysing business in the neighbouring Wandegeya township leading to huge losses for the business people there and inconveniencing those who were using roads near the university. The students resorted to looting people’s businesses, an act that we condemn.
The students and, their parents, feel aggrieved by the policy but on closer examination, it is a fair policy and one that was communicated to them last November. They were not ambushed by the administration. There were formal channels that were followed after consultations.
The School of Law and the College of Computing and Information Sciences were the only academic units implementing this policy. But following concerns raised from the students from these units over why the policy was not being implemented in other academic units, it was agreed that the policy be implemented across the board this year.
A semester is composed of about 17 weeks and if the university expects students to pay 60 per cent of their fees in the first six weeks, it is fair to both sides. Makerere University largely runs on money generated from private students’ tuition and the delay in collecting it hampers the smooth running of the institution’s activities in form of salaries for staff, research, and other teaching aids.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, last week requested the students’ guild to write a petition to Council detailing their grievances and proposing a way forward, which the student leaders did. Now, the onus lies with the student leaders to urge students to remain calm as a way forward is forged through dialogue.
Resorting to violence, like they did yesterday, will not solve the problem but lead to condemnation from the public.