Kampala- The enrolment at Makerere University has reduced by 15,000 students in the last decade, according to the institution’s management.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, yesterday said the decision was taken 10 years ago to reduce the enrolment of undergraduate students by 10 per cent annually until the programmes (undergraduate) are all phased out at the country’s oldest university to concentrate on only graduate courses.
According to Prof Nawangwe, the students have since dropped to 35,000 from 50,000 since the inception of the policy in 2008.
The vice chancellor’s explanation follows a media briefing he had last month where he informed journalists that the University Council had decided to call off the evening programmes and continuing students would pursue their courses in the same programme uninterrupted to the end, save for the new students of academic year 2018/19.
“…all new students (freshers) starting with the coming academic year 2018/2019, will be admitted to study various academic programmes at Makerere University on either the day programme from 8am to 5pm or on the afternoon programme from 2pm to 6pm. Colleges are, however, allowed to run evening programmes after filling the minimum enrolment on day and afternoon programmes,” the statement read in part.
“We believe that there exists a critical number of universities in Uganda to handle the training of undergraduate students and only Makerere University has the capacity to produce the Master’s and PhD graduates that will be needed to facilitate undergraduate training and the development of the country,” they added.
But Prof Nawangwe clarified: “Makerere University is not scrapping evening programme, however, we are reviewing the programmes that have small numbers with students below 20 and they will be taken to either morning or afternoon. There are other popular programmes which will remain but evening programmes will be managed by the colleges, that is the small change that is in.”
Due to the changes, Prof Nawangwe reported that the university revenues had reduced from Shs120 billion to Shs90 billion. This has left the university with a debt of more than Shs130 billion and more than Shs9 billion in untraceable debt payments, according to university’s 2017 end of year report.
Since he was appointed five months ago, Prof Nawangwe has made drastic changes in the policies of the university. The changes have attracted public criticism, with some labelling them as ‘stupid’.