Students at Makerere University were this afternoon left dumbfounded after receiving communication from various colleges that all students studying on the evening programme were to join their colleagues on the Day programme.
In a letter, addressed to the principal College of Humanities and Social Sciences, a copy of which PML Daily has seen, the office of the chairperson Department of Journalism and Communication stated that all staff of the department had resolved in a meeting last week to withdraw their services sighting failure by the university to pay lecturers for conducting evening classes.
“We noted during the meeting that the university has failed to honour the promise to remunerate staff teaching on the evening programme, which as you know is after the public service stipulated working time…… we henceforth request evening students to join their day time colleagues,” the letter reads in part.
Students who PML Daily talked to said this was going to be a problem since many of them are working. “There are some course units which we have been finding a hard time studying because they were only taught during the Day classes, what then will happen when the entire course is taught during the day,” one student who spoke on condition of anonymity told PML Daily. Other students said it was time to choose between work or studies.
According to Shamin Majwala, a fourth year journalism student, the scrapping of evening classes will have severe effects on her education.
“I work with KCCA as a Rubaga Division youth Councillor to get tuition. I also do other things during the day to get my tuition. So I have no way I can get tuition if I don’t work… we are going to strike if they don’t reinstate evening classes,” Ms Majwala vowed.
She added that they won’t allow joining day classes because they chose the evening programme for a reason which is favouring them to work while studying.
A third year journalism student said: “I am going to write to the head of department quoting my admission as an evening student. Either they allow the lecturers to engage us online…else they get sued. That is clear breach of contract.” She added: “Makerere think they can do whatever it is they please? Imagine some of us can never be allowed off work during the day. Its the reason we asked for evening. It meansI will be forfeiting allowances for a year. I have asked my lawyer to draft me a nice letter first. See how they respond…then we go legal. I can’t believe I have wasted three years, I could have gone to another university.
A lecturer we spoke to at the journalism department said in the past they were paid for conducting evening classes , however it has been five years since they last hear from the university administration about this payment.
“It is right, we are also caught hard as lecturers meeting expenses to teach students on the evening programme and yet we are paid as the rest of the lecturers who do not conduct evening classes..” he said.
The development at the School of Journalism comes three days after the same communication was receieved at the School of Law.
In a tweet, Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe asked students to remain calm as the university resolves the issue. “This is a hoax, the President is not aware of this. The issue of evening classes is being addressed. All students are advised to remain calm and concentrate on their studies,” Prof Nawangwe tweeted.