Students ask Kyambogo to account for Shs1.6b

Part of the telecommunication and electronics laboratory at Kyambogo University. The newly elected students’ guild of Kyambogo University has tasked the university administration to account for Shs1.6 billion which is paid by the students as ICT Development Fund every year. PHOTO/HANDOUT

What you need to know:

  • Kyambogo University’s guild president says the ICT department has few computers but students contribute annually to the ICT fund.

The newly-elected students’ guild of Kyambogo University has tasked the university administration to account for Shs1.6 billion which is paid by the students as ICT Development Fund every year.

In an interview with Monitor on Friday, Mr Edrine Wafula, the Kyambogo University guild president, said the ICT department has less than 100 computers yet each student is required to pay Shs50,000 each year to the ICT Fund.

“We also pay Shs50,000, which is approximately Shs1.6 billion annually, as ICT development fund but Kyambogo University ICT centre is worrying and yet the institution is recognised among the top five universities in Uganda,” Mr Wafula said.

He added: “We have realised that this money has not been used to do what it is intended to do.”

Mr Wafula said a similar issue is occurring with the sports fees. He said each student is required to pay Shs25,000 annually as sports fees but they can barely access the associated facilities.
He added that the university’s basketball court is in poor condition.

“In addition, the sports scholarships were suspended but students still pay that fee,” Mr Wafula said, accusing the university administration of regarding education as a business and not a service to students.

On the issue of accommodation, Mr Wafula said some of the halls of residence in the university are being turned into offices.

“The university is now phasing out accommodation facilities. An example is Mandela Hall which [has been turned into offices for some of the university administrators],” Mr Wafula revealed.

He added: “When the students were evicted, some went to Banda, a Kampala City suburb, and other nearby areas to look for accommodation. The university has not tried to find out how these students sleep, the amount of money they are paying for rent, how the landlords are treating them, and how secure they are.”

Mr Wafula urged the university to sign memorandums of understanding with private hostel owners so that the affected students are not overcharged.

He also advised the university to work with private investors to construct more hostels for learners on the university’s more than 200-acre piece of land.

In 2019, Kyambogo University Council approved a students’ study scheme policy to provide financial assistance to students who had challenges paying tuition.

However, the policy did not work out and Mr Wafula blamed this on poor leadership.

“Last year, students were stopped from sitting for exams because the university was demanding Shs50,000 from them. We are advocating for a non-zero tuition balance policy whereby a student who has not been able to raise 100 percent of the tuition but has paid at least 80 percent, should be given an opportunity [to sit for exams],” he said.

Mr Wafula also asked the university to support students with innovative ideas.
“Currently Kyambogo is ranked as the fifth best university in Uganda yet it was once second in the country. When they rank these universities, they always consider academic performance and research,” he said. 

He added: “However, when students come up with innovative ideas, they don’t receive support from the university yet they pay a research and innovation fee of Shs40,000 per student, which is approximately 1.2 billion per semester.”

Kyambogo reacts 

When contacted yesterday, Mr Reuben Twinomujuni, the public relations officer of Kyambogo University, said: “The guild president needs to sit with different departments and we avail him with all the required information. 

When it comes to ICT, we need more money. ICT is one of our strong points in the university and the money we are getting is not enough.

That said, we have thousands of computers in the university. The 100 computers most likely he was meaning the one at his department. We have computers everywhere in the offices.

On the issue of sports, we have a well-equipped sports complex with different games and hire it out to people who want to use.

When it comes to innovation, we are winning a lot of awards both within the country and abroad and as for the scholarship, it’s the government which admits talented students. Let him visit the sports scholarship office and they will avail all the information he needs to know.