Mr President, let govt offer your bazukulu affordable education

Tuesday November 19 2019


By Jimmy Kacha

The Makerere University students’ protests against the 15 per cent cumulative tuition increment policy should remind you about the rebellions that you got involved in to fight past regimes. It should also remind you of the 10-Point Programme the NRA/M used to achieve victory in 1986. Among others, the programme emphasised improving social services and addressing inequality. I want to understand why, when and where this programme was dumped years later.
The current leadership seem to have changed tune. Education is now for the rich and those who can afford to pay loans. Opting to go to a UPE or USE school is like going to a water source to fetch dirty water using a broken container. Ugandans are very poor to even afford two meals a day; they sleep on buuji (porridge) without sugar and emboli (sweet potatoes).
Surely, can such families afford to pay Shs4.5m (tuition of 1.8m, functional fees of Shs800,000, hostel fees of Shs800, 000, feeding Shs650,000, requirements of not less than Shs300,000 per semester, among other things)?
And if they cannot afford this, then how will they be able to pay Shs10m after five years? The bazukulu (grand children) do not have the money in millions to pay to a public university yet citizens pay taxes. How do you expect a USE product to afford such fees? When you look at the list of students admitted on government sponsorship, you realise that 90 per cent of them perhaps come from the well-to-do families. A brickmaker’s son is the one meant to pay these millions.
We who sell family property, we who fail to pay bank loans, we orphans and children of single mothers are in a precarious situation. I feel pain whenever I hear the being called bazukulu yet we continue to do queer things to enable us raise money for our tuition. No grandparent will ever be proud when their bazukulu go through such situations as they strive to make it in life.
As legislators are asking government to pay their OTT for them, we are requesting that we offered affordable education.
National Objective XVIII(ii) states: “The State shall take appropriate measures to afford every citizen equal opportunity to attain the highest educational policy…” So the government must come intervene and ensure the bazukulu get fine eduacation, which is their right.
Jimmy Kacha,