UCU’s tuition structure will only leave you wondering whether quality education is only a privilege for the rich. Well, this is not the first time Uganda Christian University students are expressing intense woefulness about their high tuition fees.
I believe the majority of us haven’t forgotten the sad events of 19th April, 2016 when the Vice Chancellor, Rev. Dr. John Ssenyonyi issued an expulsion against two UCU students namely; Yasin Sentumbwe and Simon Semuwemba for demonstrating against a 12.5% tuition increase without the authorisation of the institution’s top officials.
One could argue that much hasn’t changed as the amounts paid as tuition fees are still alarming and might be the highest any University student in Uganda could face for example a law student pays UGX 2,225,000 as tuition minus the board fee (accommodation & meals) which goes for UGX 1,200,000 but that’s not all, one must also pay UGX 913,000 worth other fees and UGX 20,000 for National Council of Higher Education.
To add salt to the wound, the tuition fee for the newly introduced Medicine and Surgery course is UGX 5,000,000 which would imply that a medical student that resides in the university halls pays a total sum of UGX 7,133,000 per semester.
I embarked on a Research to understand why UCU’s tuition rates are appalling and here are some of the reasons;
- Construction and Development of the Kampala Campus.
In a bid to expand the Institution’s area of operation and the Church’s finances, the management of the Christian University decided to construct and launch the Kampala Campus but little did the students know that this would come at the expense of the rat bitten pockets of students and their parents whose tuition fees were raised in a quest to raise funds to construct the Kampala Campus.
UCU’s Vice Chancellor Rev Dr John Ssenyonyi during one of the university’s graduation ceremonies said “I call it injustice for the government to over tax private institutions and this should be looked at.” His claim was that the state charges a heavy Value Added Tax (VAT) and Income Tax on the institution and in our findings, we noted that this could be one of the reasons why UCU tuition fees are high as the tax burden is directly imputed upon the students.
- Quality of Education.
“The Centre of Excellence in the heart of Africa”, a slogan greatly associated with the Mukono based university might as well be the reason why UCU students pay high tuition fees. Recent statistics indicate that it is the best private academic institution in Uganda. UCU brags of a modernised and improved academic system which employs both well qualified lecturers and tutors that seem to have mastered the art of shaping student’s careers. But all this comes at a cost.
I have had the benefit of dining from different Institutions and I must say UCU’s meals though average tend to beat the quality in other institutions. Students are treated to a series of changes in their daily menus although some still say that food is not worth the money they pay and the university has on several occasions been urged to improve its quality of meals but like I said, all this has come at a cost.
This only leaves us with one question; “Is Quality Education Still An Achievable Human Right For The Poor?”