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Makerere students propose 15 percent tuition increment per year

Makerere University Guild Committee led by Guild President Papa Were Salim (3rd Right) hands over a report on fees structure to Chairperson University Council Eng. Dr. Wana Etyem on 2nd July 2018. Right is the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Credit: MUK)

MAKERERE – A 15-member Makerere University student committee constituted by the Guild President, Papa Were to look into the endless strikes at the country’s oldest institution of high learning has suggested a 15 percent tuition increment annually.

The committee was tasked to among other things, analyse the university administration’s decision to hike tuition by 91% and abolish meals in halls of residence.

In a report, Mr Polly Bandola, the committee chairman, handed to the administration, student leaders suggested a number of issues; key
among them being a 15 per cent tuition increment for all programmes and renovation of halls of residence.

The students in their recommendation said such an increment would be affordable and generate the needed revenue for the institution making it better than the University Council’s 41-91 per cent wholesome increment. If adopted, the increment will start in the 2018/19 academic year.

Bandola, a fourth year Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery student, who is also the chairperson of Mitchell Hall said they visited the University of Nairobi in Kenya, University of Rwanda, and local universities such as Mbarara University of Science and Technology
(MUST), Gulu University and Uganda Christian University – Mukono to compare notes with Makerere.

Bandola said his committee reached a consensus after reviewing a number of university financial documents in addition to reviewing the
visitation committee recommendations on the fees issues.

“We have made a recommendation to the University Council that instead of increasing tuition by 91% and 50% as earlier proposed, there should be a uniform and more moderate 15% increase in tuition across all programmes per a year,” he said.

The committee also noted that Makerere had not increased its fees for many programmes in the last five years despite the rising inflation.

They also discovered that other institutions in the region like University of Nairobi were charging higher tuition fees than Makerere.

According to the students’ fees increment report, a comparison made between similar courses at Makerere and other universities in the
region found that for many courses the fees were incomparable because Makerere was charging way lower than the others.

The report notes that for instance Makerere charges far less than University of Nairobi for many programmes. A Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery and Bachelor of Dental Surgery is at Shs17million, while at Makerere it is at a paltry Shs2.6million. Bachelor of Laws is at Shs6.5 million at University of Nairobi and Shs2.5 million at Makerere University.

Bachelor of Agriculture at University of Nairobi is Shs5.8 million while the same course is charged at Shs2.6 million at Makerere. Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe described the development as a positive gesture by students, arguing that it is a landmark in the development of student leadership.

Nawangwe said the students have been reasonable in their recommendations since previously they were totally opposed to any
increment.

“They have recommended an increment that is not anywhere near what council wanted, but they at least said they were not against the [idea] but asked that we consider the conditions of their parents. I think council can consider this. I cannot talk for council now, but I
want to hope that they find it favourable,” Prof Nawangwe said.

Prof Nawangwe said the proposal is that “this academic year the increment is 15% and the students pay that figure for a year. The next
year we add another 15%. Then we do that for the next five years,” he explained.

Eng Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem, the chairperson of the Makerere University Council, said he would summon the council before the end of this week to an emergency meeting to consider the students’ recommendations.

“I have heard your plea that perhaps you weren’t given adequate consultations. Now we have a problem of the [student] numbers and the sensitivity of issues at hand and also the proximity of Makerere when you guys rise up in arms and hold everyone hostage. This must stop. This has to stop. We are going to find it difficult if council makes decisions and they are not honoured.” said Wana-Etyem.

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