Law Development Centre (LDC) student leaders have finally spoken out about the matter of online teaching and learning at the institution in the wake of accusations by members of parliament that they’re foregoing presidential directives and illicitly examining students for a meagre amount of Shs 20,000.
Parliament, earlier this week, through the Minister of Education and MP Elijah Okupa suspended learning at the institution alleging that some students have been left out because they cannot afford data and the fee for online exams.
“We the students of the Law Development Centre (LDC) through our Guild leadership wish to express our dismay towards the decision reached by the August House in indefinitely suspending online studies at LDC basing on grossly inaccurate information and in total disregard of the interests of the students who are the primary stakeholders and not victims of this assault.” The students said in a joint statement.
The students further informed MPs and the public that the decision to hold online learning sessions was reached “following multiple requests from the students to be kept academically engaged.”
“LDC management first resolved to conduct a two week survey on the feasibility of online studies. The test studies involved ICT trainings for students and staff through revision of already covered areas. By God’s grace, the survey was successful. It is from this survey and engagements with the key stakeholders (students) that LDC made an informed decision to roll out online studies.” The student leaders further affirmed.
The students say that in fact, the attendance figures for their online classes were so huge, they rivalled or sometimes beat attendance figures for actual lessons in their respective campuses. An observation they say, Hon. Okupa underlooked in his act of snitching.
“On 17th of June 2020, within the first week of the very beneficial studies, Hon. Okupa stained the Parliamentary Hansards with falsehoods that LDC was examining students and asking for a fee of UGX. 20,000/= to facilitate the online studies hence misleading the August House into abusing our right to an education.”
“In fact, the first week of online classes registered 1,524 students out of 1,604 (1,074 for Kampala, 530 Mbarara)
making it 95 % attendance rate! This is better or equal to the same attendance rates for physical classes.”
As such, and in light of the student’s financial situation that has been worsened by the COVID-19 era, the student leaders are demanding that Parliament supports the LDC administration financially to take away the financial burden from themselves (students) and their struggling parents in this education journey.
The students say for all the months they’ve been “suspended by the president from learning”, Land Lords and Ladies at their hostels of residences have been collecting rent like it is normal business. This debt burden coupled with awaiting tuition fees and arrears, they say is going to be too much for them to sustain.
“Therefore we call upon Parliament to support the LDC Administration with a COVID Fund that will enable students complete the current Academic Year by covering the following;
- Securing cuts on tuition. We raise this ground on the basis that the cut on tuition would help in sustaining the online studies for students whose budgets for the academic year are now depleted.
- Cover the cost of Data to attend online classes.”
The statement was signed by the institution’s guild leaders from both the Kampala and Mbarara Campuses. They include; Wooli Gerald Sandy (GP – Mbarara), Alex Nuwahereza (GP – Kampala), Timothy Kajja (PM – Mbarara), Joanita Lwensisi (Guild Speaker – Kampala), Derrick Kizito Kunyiga (Guild Speaker – Mbarara), Bakawonga Muzafaru Twaha (Guild Finance Minister), Betty Arem and Ivan Twinomugisha.