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MPs advise Makerere students to demand for services

Often times, demand for services by students has ended in strikes at Makerere.

Makerere University students have been advised to put pressure on the university management to provide them with the services they need.

The chairperson of the Education committee of Parliament, also Pallisa County MP, Jacob Opolot, was speaking to representatives of the students during a meeting with the committee regarding the university’s issues on May 22, at Parliament.

Parliament’s Education Committee chairman Jacob Opolot

Recently leaders from public universities appeared before the same committee to present their plea that the current amount of money for meals is not sufficient to meet the current situation and therefore had requested it be increased from Shs4,500 to Shs10,000.

“I caution you not to allow to be used or get involved in other people’s issues which is not in your mandate because as students you have your own issues to deal with,” Opolot said. He added that the lectures have a platform where they can raise their issues and yet the students don’t enjoy the same opportunity.

Sexual harassment
During the meeting, Mr Papa Salim Were, the Makerere University guild president said sexual harassment is not an isolated case at Makerere but is a global problem that cuts across.

The worker’s MP, Hon. Margaret Rwabashaija explained that the issues the students body were raising are genuine and promised to hold another meeting next week to have all stakeholders come up with recommendations.

“As MPs, we also feel that the money for meals is not enough considering that the economic times are more challenging than it was the case a few years ago. We believe that something viable will come out,” added Rwabashaija.

Commenting on sexual harassment, the Workers’ MP called for punitive measures to discipline people who get involved in the vice to prevent them from transferring the vice to others. No parent wants to see their children undergo such acts of abuse.

There is need to inspect schools or high institutions of learning to verify the extent of the damage.

Hon. Violet Akurut, Katakwi District, explained to the students that MPs give everybody the opportunity to present their issues but don’t decide.
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Recommendations of the students

Tuition policy
According to Universities and other Institutions Act (2001) as amended gives mandate for the university Council to determine the fees to be paid by students.

Over time the university management has attempted to increase tuition which has been strongly resisted by students and has been the one strongest reason for the strikes in Makerere.

The students give as such reasons; the increased deterioration of services that are offered by the university like the adequate lecture space, with very outdated structures and furniture, poorly facilitated lecturers and other university workers that result in under performance.

There is also lack of quality assurance that these services would improve if tuition is increased, lack of justification for such tuition increments which the students body considers unfair and they are always concocted and dragged into the fees structure case in point is the recent proposal to increase tuition for medical programs by almost 50% that only first appeared in the newspapers without the knowledge and nput by the most affected stakeholders, the student’s body.

Appeal by students
That the university considers reviewing fees structures in a fair and trannsparent way to be able to come up with fair fees for students of our nation and the international students.

That the university considers fees increments which are fair and affordable by parents.

That the university considers other sources of funding which will lighten the taxes that are levied on parents and sponsors of their education as most of the students come from humble backgrounds and can only afford subsidized costs of education.

Meal policy
There is a moce by the university administraion to divest from providing meals to students starting with the academic year 2018/19 and instead give an allowance of Shs 4500 per day to government sponsored students to be able to manage for their own meals. The university administraion agrees with the rest of the stakeholders that the fee of 4500 cannot sustain students with the increased prices of food in and around campus and the university proposes that government increases this figure to at least Shs 10,000 per day per student among others.

Anticipated out comes
If the university continues to implement and fails to increase the money, there will be starvation of students which will have direct effect to their academic performance, strikes will be the order of the day and it will increase the habit by students in halls to cook food which results in high risks like fire out breaks and increased electricty bills to the university.

Appeal by students
The university together with government find a way to increase the meals allowance from Shs 4500 to Shs 10,000 per student per day.

That the university be protected from other confrontations when addressing issues of sexual harrassment to mention but a few.

Strikes by lecturers
Makerere university lecturers have over time complained of delays in the remmitance of their salaries and arrrears. The lecturers and other university workers continue to complain over little pay from the university.
Were further said that there is need to separate the loans scheme from the issue of sponsorship because these are not the same.

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