After a meeting by the Makerere University Central Management Finance Committee held on May 29, it was discovered that the university had registered a four billion Shillings budget shortfall.
The decline in the required money to run the university forced the officials to suspended external examiners for all degree programs in what was termed as inadequate financing. The final decision was announced by Charles Barugahare, the University Secretary through an internal communication to staff members.
“Management agreed that in view of the financial constraints, external examinations should be deferred until management provides further guidance. You are accordingly informed of the management decision,” Barugahare said.
Every Department at Makerere had an external examiner who visits the department at least once a year (academic year) for one week. As part of his/her job, the external examiner is supposed to look at the general teaching process including how examinations and grading is done.
The external examiner also checks the syllabus and compares it to the global trends, who later writes a report for improvement. The external examiner serves for a maximum of three years after which he or she is changed.
Following the suspension of external examiners, a senior lecturer at Makerere (who preferred anonymity) wondered where the university plans to put students’ money meant to pay external examiners.
“But students pay this money. No student can submit a dissertation and it is received for examination before paying all dues and in the breakdown, examination fees are explicitly stated,” a senior academic staff said.
The official added that this will mean no master or PHD student will graduate explaining that their dissertations cannot be examined because the examiners serve as an external check on quality assurance. The same issue will be faced by undergraduate students.
While commenting on the same matter, the suspended MUASA chairperson Dr. Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi highlighted that the university should take the quality assurance matter seriously.
“It’s a quality assurance matter which the university should take seriously. We also have an external examination for PhDs and Master’s thesis which could be affected by this financial crisis leading to low graduation rates.” Kamunyu said.