Parliamentary Committee supports fees increment at Makerere

Wednesday December 11 2019

 

By URN

Members of Parliament on the Education Committee have recommended that the 15 percent fees increment policy, which was recently introduced by Makerere University administrators, should not be halted.

In October, Makerere University students protested the fees policy that was endorsed by the University Council in June 2018. 

Following the protests, Parliament directed that the policy be halted pending a sustainable remedy to the financing gap at the university.   

The Committee on Education which interacted with the students, Makerere University administrators, among others, after the violent protests, has advised that the fees policy should not be suspended.  

However, a Minority Report by Rubaga North MP, Mr Moses Kasibante and two other MPs recommended that government should honour Parliament’s resolution to halt the fees increment policy.

While presenting the findings on Wednesday in Parliament, Mr Jacob Opolot, the committee chairperson said that the increment was already included in the Makerere University budget that was appropriated by the House, adding halting the plan would distort the institution’s budget execution.    

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Mr Opolot said the fees increment did not receive the full endorsement of the student leadership structures due to lack of dialogue, mutual trust and consultation.

The committee, however, recommended that the Auditor General carries out a forensic audit of the management of finances at the university to ascertain accountability issues.

In the report, committee members suggested that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should table before the House, proposals, plans and strategies for sustainable financing of universities and tertiary education.  

 The committee also agreed with proposals that government meets medical bills of students who were injured at the university during the protests and compensate them for lost and damaged property.

In their findings, committee members observed that the state of the infrastructure at Makerere University is appalling and requires massive investment by the government.

 The MPs also established that Makerere University is operating beyond its capacity which affects the quality of service delivery. 

“The current student population is 38,000 which is beyond the actual capacity of 27,000. The committee, therefore, recommends that the university management should restructure its academic programmes and enrolment in line with its carrying capacity,” the committee’s report reads in part.  

 According to the report, MPs established that rooms in some halls of residence are being rented out and occupied by former students and other unauthorised persons, which compromises security at the institution.  

Regarding suspended students, the committee recommended that the university management rescinds its decision on all the affected students.

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