Makerere takes foot off tuition brake

Makerere University Vice Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe in a recent interview with the Daily Monitor. PHOTO | FRANK BAGUMA

Makerere University has revealed that it will resume the 15 percent tuition increment next academic year after it was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Makerere University Council in 2018 approved the 15 percent tuition increment policy which was implemented during the 2018/2019 academic year.

The same council, however, in 2021 halted the increment for two years.

The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, yesterday said: “We had implemented the tuition policy for three years but Covid struck, council took a decision and said since parents are facing hardships, lets us suspend  the increment for two years. That was done two years back. Maybe from the next financial year, we should resume that.”

Prof Nawangwe said the increment is slated to resume in 2023/2024 academic year. The next academic year of the institution is slated to kick off in September 2023.

Students react

The outgoing Guild President, Ms Shamim Nambasa, yesterday told Monitor in an interview that the University Council should just drop the policy since students and parents are still struggling to pay tuition.

“Before the university reinstates this policy, it should first analyse the current economic crisis in the country. We are struggling to raise the tuition, so we suggest that the policy should be abolished to avoid demonstrations like it was witnessed before,”  she said.

The policy was supposed to be implemented every academic year since 2019 for the next five years. This was supposed to end in 2023.

This meant that after five years, a student who would join the institution at the end of five years of implementation of this policy would pay 75 percent of tuition from the one that was paid by a student before tuition implementation in 2019.

This policy took effect with students who enrolled for the 2019/2020 academic year. This, however, triggered numerous demonstrations on the grounds that it would deny students from poor families access to education.

This, however, did not change the University’ Council’s decision which insisted that the policy was proposed by the Students Guild Council.

Prof Nawangwe said the university council is slated to first review the situation.

“Remember that the cost of everything has gone up despite the fact that parents are constrained. It does not mean paper is costing less. The cost of paper has doubled and we are actually [cutting costs] in many places to continue performing.

“If it becomes necessary that we must re-instate that increment irrespective of the conditions of individual parents, that will be the decision,” Prof Nawangwe said.

Background  

The University Council in 2018 had proposed increment of 45 percent and 91 percent tuition increment on some courses which was rejected by the students and their guild representatives.

In a bid to strike a balance, the students’ leadership that was by then led by the Guild President, Mr Papa Were Salim, then proposed a 15 percent increment to be levied on all courses for five years.

 The University Council heeded to the two-day strike by the students and dropped its first proposal and approved the 15 percent increment.

 This was, however, rejected by the students, but the University council has declined to drop it on the grounds that it was proposed by the Guild council.



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