Gulu varsity students petition RDC

Mr Richard Bongowat, the Gulu University guild president (L), addresses students at the Office of the Resident District Commissioner in Gulu Town at the weekend. PHOTO BY JAMES OWICH

What you need to know:

Higher eduction. The guild president blames the university for failing to honour its commitment to pay the striking lecturers whose action has affected studies


Students of Gulu University on the weekend study programme have petitioned the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) over missing lectures for two weeks.

The anomaly arose as a result of some lecturers laying down tools over delayed payment of their allowances by the university administration.
The lecturers have been demanding allowances totaling to Shs1.5 billion for a year.

The students, led by their guild president, Mr Richard Bongowat, marched to the office of the RDC to express their grievances and submitted a six-page petition received by Mr John Nkwasibwe, the deputy district internal security officer on behalf of the RDC.

They demanded unconditional resumption of lectures within one week or else they would sue the university.
Mr Bongowat said it was painful that the university had failed to honour its commitment to resolve the issue of allowances so that there is uninterrupted study.

“Why is it that the allowances of the striking lecturers have not been remitted yet the students pay tuition to the administration on time?” he asked.
Mr Nkwasibwe promised to follow up the matter and lauded the students for choosing non-violent means to express their complaints.

The university deputy spokesperson, Mr Mahmoud Khalid, said some lecturers were claiming more than what they are not entitled to.

“The university policy says a lecturer is supposed to have 10 contact hours with the students in a week but some of the academic staff only work for two hours during weekdays and 10 hours during weekend and are claiming for payments higher than want they are meant to receive,” he said.

Mr Khalid urged students to remain calm, saying the administration was sourcing for lecturers who can adhere to terms and conditions of the institution.

“Whatever the students have lost in the two weeks strike will be compensated,” the university deputy spokesperson added.
When contacted, Dr David Kitara Lagoro, the chairperson of Gulu University Academic Staff Association, said he wanted to get a briefing from his colleagues “so that I get to know what happened exactly before I can comment on the matter”.

Most affected
The most affected students are those under faculties of Business and Developmental Studies, Science, Education and Humanities, Agriculture and Environment.