Even though the President of the Republic of Uganda H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni did not state Parliament to be an “essential service” during this pandemic, it has continued to hold sessions in big numbers despite so (not even 4 meters apart, only few wore masks, while others continued to touch each other contrary to Presidential directives – but it will slide), while discussing issues pertinent to the livelihood of Ugandans.
One issue that came out of the discussion is the plight of Uganda Christian University (UCU) students, continuing and finalists alike.
Hon. Gilbert Olanya, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Amuru Constituency, when given the pulpit, spoke out against the UCU online examinations scheduled to take place starting the 6th April 2020. He particularly asked the Minister of Education (M.o.E) to intervene in the situation.
In his concern, he reveals that knows about 6 students of UCU from his constituency that are burdened by the scheduled examinations which he says is “a matter concerning issues of national importance…”.
According to him, the students particularly those in villages are not “allowed to move to trading centres where they can access the internet” that would be used to conduct the said examinations.
Regarding the payment of tuition before Monday, next week, Hon. Olanya, stated that many parents out there have harvests and foodstuffs that they cannot sell to raise tuition for the students to pay before the deadline.
“The M.o.E (Minister of Education) has taken note of the concerns raised and we are going to intervene” responded John Chrysestom Muyingo, the state Minister for Higher Education on behalf of the M.o.E.
He further stated that “All Ugandans whether in private schools or public schools are under government directives” as if to emphasize that by closure of schools, the government meant that every school activity was supposed to shut down, including the running of any online activity.
The involvement of the MPs is yet another of the measures that have been taken to challenge the online examinations. Already students have taken their protests to social media, tagging the university official account in their concerns. From some of the tweets we have read, the students also indicate that they have made appeals to the university via email, to no positive feedback. An anonymous person has also initiated a petition on petition.net to challenge the exams.
It is yet to be seen how the ministry will intervene.