Makerere to resume issuing customised graduation gowns

Makerere University Business School graduands celebrate during the 15th graduation ceremony on October 1, 2021. PHOTO/ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

The university Endowment Fund is now responsible for production, sale, and distribution of the gowns.

Makerere University management is slated to resume issuing compulsory customised gowns to its graduands, three years after it was suspended.

According to a circular seen by Daily Monitor, the University Council at its 160th meeting resolved to approve the production, sale, and distribution of the graduation gowns by its Endowment Fund.

When contacted yesterday, the Academic Registrar, Prof Buyinza Mukadasi, confirmed that the university Endowment Fund has been contracted to produce the graduation gowns for all graduands.

“All gowns will be produced by the university Endowment Fund. They will come up with their work plan on how to distribute these gowns to all graduands on time,” Prof Mukadasi said.

He explained that the Endowment Fund management has already received the gazetted samples from the Academic Registrar’s office to kick-start the work ahead of graduation.

Makerere University management suspended issuing customised gowns to their graduands in 2020 after they were hit by a crisis seven days before the graduation ceremony.

The supplier whom the university had contracted to supply gowns had refused to release the gowns on the grounds that the management had failed to clear all dues and arrears.

This put the institution under pressure from the more than13,000 students who had paid at least Shs98,000 each for the customised gowns.

For the last three graduations, graduands have been purchasing gowns from their places of convenience after management stopped issuing the gowns.

Before halting the issuance of gowns, all graduands were each required to pay Shs98,000 for a gown to the university accounts.

Graduation fee

However, a graduate, who was graduated last year, said they did not pay the Shs98,000  to the university in January during the 73rd graduation ceremony. The graduate said they paid between 80,000 and 90,000 to various service providers who had set up their stalls within the university premises.

Prof Mukadasi yesterday said all graduands are going to resume paying the Shs98,000 to the university as they clear other graduation requirements.

“To be organised, graduands will remit the graduation gown money to the university accounts, and the Endowment Fund will receive a single cheque of all those who have paid for gowns. They will set up various distribution points at the college where gowns will be picked,” he said.

Prof Mukadasi said they are not sure if the Endowment Fund is going to produce the gowns themselves or will outsource. Sources indicate that the Endowment Fund does not have the capacity to produce these gowns on time hence have resolved to also outsource the services.

According to a bid invitation signed by the chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund, Ms Margrate Kigozi, eligible bidders to produce the graduation gowns have up to September 7 to submit their bids.

Next graduation

The 74th graduation ceremony is slated to take place from January 8 to 12, 2024 and more than 13,000 students are slated to graduate in different programmes.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, last month told this newspaper that the University Senate will sit towards the end of this month to approve the final graduation lists.