Saturday, April 16, 2011

Makerere Should define its riorities

Makerere University has asked government to approve a proposal to increase student’s tuition fees up from shs.3m to 6m per academic year. According to the Makerere university Secretary, Mr Muhwezi Kahunda, the increase in tuition fees is necessary because the expenses incurred at the university are very high.

For sometime now Makerere has been toiling with the idea of increasing fees but has faced strong resistance from both the students and the general public. With the liberalization of University education, the increased number of student enrolment and , introduction of many new courses one would have expected student fees to remain reasonable and affordable. Unfortunately this is not the case.

With the increased cost of living in Uganda today due to high fuel and other commodity prices , one wonders how parents will afford to pay tuition fees for their children at the university.

The proposed fees increment will have a significant disincentive effect on youngsters yarning for university education. The Makerere administration should ensure the right balance between enabling as many people as possible to get a degree and helping the university sustain its finances. When a middle level public servant earns estimated 15 million per annum in salaries and allowances how can they afford to send their children to Makerere.
And here is the irony. While the Makerere university claims to be short on money to fund its operations, they can afford at the same time, to buy a Land Cruiser VX, at shs. 360m for the vice-chancellor. Already the lavish life style of the top administrators at Makerere has attracted criticism from Dr Tanga Odoi, the Chairman of the lecturers’ association MUASA.
DR Tanga Odoi has stated: “ Makerere’s problem is not shortage of funds but the failure to understand our priorities.” He is spot on. The hypocrisy of those charged with the management of our public institutions must be stopped.
And in this case, Makerere University administration must fully explain the resources needed to maintain the institution’s national , regional and global status and offer the very best student experience without fleecing the unsuspecting public. Makerere should not be given a blank cheque when its vast resources are not put to proper use.

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