Two prestigious universities in Uganda, Kyambogo University and Makerere University are embroiled in controversy as reports of alleged cash-for-marks scandal have come to light, putting their academic integrity at stake.
Starting with Kyambogo University; the investigation by a native newspaper, Daily Monitor, has demonstrated how a number of students from the faculty of Department of Automotive Engineering (DAE) bribed a lecturer after they sat an exam that turned out to be difficult.
Engulfed with fear that they could fail the exam, the students (40 in number) approached their colleague (one of the affected), and who had a personal friendship with the lecturer responsible for the exam. The students were seeking his influence and middle-man-ship help in cracking a financial deal with the lecturer, so as to have their performance uplifted.
“One of my classmates came and told us that the guy (lecturer) needs money and if you don’t contribute, you will fail the paper. So, we had to get that money there and then. Some people even had to borrow,” one of the affected students (name undisclosed), said.
The investigation indicates that upon agreement as a team, the students raised about shs1,500,000 which was intended for the bribe. It is said that 16 students from diploma in automobile engineering course each paid about shs50,000 whereas 24 students from mechanical engineering course raised Shs900,000.
The team of investigators on this case, who disguised as part of the affected students seeking help on the marks adjustment, revealed how the dirty deal middle-man acknowledged his involvement in the transaction.
“Before you call him, just make sure that you find out whether he has already handed in results. In case it happens, trust me he cannot change anything, he won’t help you. He will just eat your money. He may promise and something like that but at that point it will be out of his control and that [is what] happened to us. We gave him money when he had already handed in the results.”
Students Who Bribed Get Betrayed
The lecturer in question, who has been established to have lost his part-time job a year ago at the institution is alleged to have taken the money, but later released results with no effort applied to improve the performances of what we can call bribers (students who paid the money), in this case.
The frustrated students, having learnt that they have been given retakes, took to their WhatsApp group dubbed ‘Strictly DAE’ to express their disappointment.
“Man, I have been here doing my work but I have lost energy and I have even left the work……why someone giving you a retake? We have to do something, either he has to report to the head of department that he missed adding our marks for coursework and he adds them there but we have to think of what to do” one of the students wrote.
“We cannot accept this man to give us these retakes when we gave him our money to avoid such repetitions. We have to do something. Either I am going to do a retake or he will lose his Job. Seriously, he cannot do that and you keep quiet.” Another student wrote.
It turns out that at the time the affected students submitted their bribe, the lecturer had already submitted marks to higher authorities for publishing”
What remains unclear is why he took the bribe, as the investigation (and the affected students) allege.
The middle-man in the quack deal confirmed that he delivered the money but was unable to provide evidence since he didn’t take photos.
The lecturer in question, however, denied the allegations saying that they (part-time lecturers) have for long had payment issues with the administration, and he suggested that the administration could have used students as a way to fix up (trick) the disgruntled part-time lecturers.
Spotlight shifts to Makerere
In a similar face of events, Makerere University has been brought into spotlight with allegations indicating that students pay money for good grades.
Daily Monitor reported that a source inside Makerere particularly at the College of Business and Management Sciences (COBAMS), who has held a leadership position before, disclosed how students who are not content with their marks, pay amounts around shs250,000 to have their way to satisfactory marks.
“…People buy marks and I have evidence of it several times because students come through the leaders because they feel we have better information about people accepting bribes for giving marks,” the person said, adding that, “…I know what students go through. I send them to guys who accept bribes” the source revealed.
The publication further cites a student-lecturer friendship which was a catalyst for the vice where by a marking assistant used a student as a middle-man to crack the cash-for-marks deals.
Known for his drunkenness, a marking assistant would meet with students who wanted to have their marks changed and this was usually carried out at a drinking spot around town (location undisclosed). Students used this (alcohol business) as an opportunity to get to his (marking assistant) heart.
“We were jazzing, he told me that he was to mark our Probability paper, from there we kept in touch,” our source said.” The source, who was actively involved in one of the deals, said explaining that exams were usually marked at the drinking spot.
“That’s how guys got marks, the guy who they give money is my friend and a well-known drunkard. So, I always mark papers with him,” he said.
Behind all this, the lecturer in charge of the course module (and the examiner) was not always aware of the deals transpiring in his area of jurisdiction because students were certain that it was hard to bribe the main lecturers for the particular course(s).
Intelligence that later emerged showed that the marking assistant was dismissed mid last year from Makerere.
“The previous one in the 2021/2022 academic year, there was a guy who was a marking assistant and one of the students told me that someone called her claiming that if she gives him some money, he will change their marks. Actually this year I decided to change to another one we recruited as a department for statistical methods,” said Dr Simon Waidembe, a lecturer, whose exams were used as bait by the marking assistant, told the native newspaper.
He also revealed that marking assistants at the institution are not paid well, something he attributes for the vice (cash-for-marks) which build up to the investigation.
As more shocking revelations come to the light, Campus Bee will keep you posted.