NEWS

Makerere dons pin Prof Kirumira over scrapping of evening classes

 College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Principal, Prof. Edward Kirumira. File photo.

BY CHRISTOPHER TUSIIME

Lecturers at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Chuss) have pointed the finger at the college principal, Prof Edward Kirumira, saying since his appointment as the head the five schools, their remuneration has been inconsistent.

As students reported to the university yesterday to pick their timetables for the new semester, they received news that no classes would be conducted in the evening. The Law School was the first to announce this development and a few days later, Chuss, in a letter announced that students on the evening programme should join their peers on the Day programme.

Lecturers we spoke to said the problem is not lack of money but its misuse at the college level.

“This money is there but the principal is the problem. Either he gets the money and doesn’t release it or he gets it and it is diverted to other things,” said one of the lecturers who preferred to remain anonymous.

But the dons explained that because they are the ones who invigilate the exams, they have proof that a good percentage of evening students fully pay tuition which should have been used to pay them, but the administration simply withholds this money.

Another source from Chuss told us that when the law school lecturers suspended the evening classes, the Vice Chancellor rushed to social media to call the issue a hoax yet he was busy striking a deal with the law lecturers.

“The VC called the Law school issue a hoax yet we have information that during that week, he was on pressure trying to find a solution to the problem. As we talk, the law lecturers are getting their pay for teaching evening classes. So, why not pay us at Chuss? Aren’t we civil servants like others who should leave work by 5pm,” the lecturer wondered.

When contacted by PML Daily, Prof Kirumira denied the allegations saying: “What you should know it that the college doesn’t keep money. All the money at Makerere is centrally collected and then sent to us. So we can’t release money that hasn’t been sent to us,” Prof Kirumira said.

He added that he hasn’t yet received the letter by the Journalism and Communication department, indicating that they have stopped teaching evening students.

The said letter is dated January 29, 2018, was written to Prof Kirumira and signed by the head of the department of Journalism and Communication, Dr Wiliam Tayeebwa.

Government currently contributes 60 per cent to the lectures’ salary at Makerere. The other percentage is from the internally generated funds.

A source at Makerere intimated to PML Daily that there is information on their internal communication platforms that their colleagues from department of European and Oriental Languages and school of Social Sciences are also joining them.

But in the period of the last five years, lecturers say they have either been receiving this money late, or not receiving it all.

WHAT NEXT?

To ensure students don’t lose out completely, some of the lecturers from the department of Journalism and Communication have told PML Daily that they are willing to teach evening students on condition that they join their Day peers.

But evening students have refused this arrangement, saying they work during day to raise tuition.

These lecturers argue that they have been patient with Kirumira’s failure to disburse their money for long, and can’t take it any more.

The dons gave an example of colleges like that of Natural Sciences where lecturers actually scrapped the programme.

Last semester, the very department of Journalism and Communication tried pushing for this money and even stopped teaching evening students for a few weeks. However, when students threatened to strike, they quickly returned to classes.

The evening programme at Makerere started in 1995. By then the incentive constituted a financial package given to members of staff as an overtime allowance for undertaking extra duties. Such duties include among others, teaching evening and weekend classes.

However, in 2013 the allowances were amalgamated into what they termed as incentives that have since caused trouble. Actually, 2016, the university wanted to scrap them, arguing that they were no longer sustainable but the move was strongly opposed by lecturers.

Makerere University evening students reported to the university yesterday to pick their timetables for the new semester, only to be told that no classes would be conducted in the evening. File photo.

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