Following the recently concluded meeting that His Excellency the president of Uganda, Y. K Museveni had with the Makerere University Council led by Lorna Magara, Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe and the minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Museveni, it is evident that the Makerere we see now will not be the same in a few years from now.
This is justified by the numerous changes that are set to take place at the Ivory tower ranging from tuition fees, scrapping off of some courses, the government taking up the role of paying lecturers who have been getting paid by students through the tuition they pay per semester.
On Friday, President Yoweri Museveni directed the Makerere University management to compare the university’s tuition policy with that of other public universities in the country have and also within the East African region to come up with a reasonable tuition policy. He gave this directive when he met the university management at state lodge Nakasero.
Museveni also re-emphasized that it’s not a good idea for Makerere University to be paying the lecturers using the money paid by students as tuition.
“These are government workers, they shouldn’t be paid using the students’ tuition fees. They should be paid by the government instead.” He said.
He further noted that, the government would take over the entire wage bill of the university and that the money generated from the university would be invested in infrastructural development. Humanity courses will also be scrapped off as Makerere changes focus to more science -driven courses.
Museveni and the university council agreed that the university focuses more on science courses as that will help to reduce the humanities course offered at the institution. The meeting also agreed that the government scraps off all the subsidy in order for the students to pay the full unit cost of the courses.
Ms Magara confirmed the developments noting that no definite time for effecting the changes had been provided.
“There is going to be an assessment and review of all the courses to determine the ones that will be merged and those that will be scrapped off.” Magara said.
Makerere deputy vice chancellor for finance and administration Prof. William Bazeyo also confirmed the developments, noting that students will start paying the full unit cost of education.
“It was agreed upon that we start charging fees per unit cost and that Makerere University private students pay the least fees compared to the other regional university inclusive of University of Dar-es-salaam, University of Nairobi and the University of Kigali.” Bazeyo noted.
He further said that, the meeting agreed that Makerere University gets new functional fees from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) that will be possibly effective in the next academic year.
On the issue of the wage bill, Bazeyo said that Makerere University was contributing over 20% of the money internally generated to top up the government bill. But now that the President has directed that the Government would take over the wage bill, all monies generated would be used for infrastructural development such as laboratories.
Makerere University Guild President, Julius Kateregga however condemns the decision to increase fees at the university saying that a number of students will continue to drop out of school due to high costs of education.
“If everything that was agreed upon during the meeting with the president is communicated to us, we shall take it to the student’s general assembly and decide the way forward. It is quite absurd that the people who should be joining us are instead against us.” Kateregga said.