MBARARA – Prof. Nixon Kamukama the deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) has decried the understaffing at the institution emanating from poor funding from government.
He says this has frustrated the institution’s mission of growth and expansion through promoting staff from senior lecturers to professors.
Kamukama revealed that currently they are operating at 21% of the total staff due to the government ban on recruitment.
“Government argues that currently there is no money so promotion and recruitment have to be halted and this gives us a big challenge because a person who is supposed to be a professor is still a senior lecturer since promoting that person goes with money,” Kamukama said.
He added that they have lost many experienced staff to other universities both within and outside the country.
Dr. Kamukama said this Wednesday during a media briefing on the 27th graduation of the university slated for October 26, in the Academic Registrar’s board room.
“You cannot grow when you are still an assistant lecturer and this has demoralised our staff. All the challenges we are facing emanate from poor funding, even when we sit with staff that is what they share with us,” he added.
On why they admit few students, Kamukama said it is true they get very many applications from students who would wish to join the institution but their hands are always tied because of lack of facilities.
“You can see in 30 years we have been operating in this small space there is a lot of congestion, even government asks us why we admit fewer students but we don’t have [adequate] facilities.”
The VC however said that government managed to get them land in Kihumuro on Mbarara-Bushenyi road, which they are developing.
“Putting facilities in place without funds is a big a challenge, we normally get much pressure from the community, business people and politicians wondering why we don’t take up their children. But we cannot.”
Martha Kyoshaba Twinamatsiko the Academic Registrar said despite having high quality programmes that would transform communities, not much has been achieved because of limited funding.
“We have programmes for doctors but we restrict admission because of funding challenges. For example we always get over 900 applications for medical programmes but end up taking up only 80 because of limited facilities and manpower,” Ms Kyoshaba said.
The officials made an appeal to government to increase funding if the university is to realise its mission of transforming communities.
Despite the challenges Ms Kyoshaba said the university has remained committed to bringing out innovations and interventions geared towards addressing community challenges.
Kyoshaba said the 27th graduation list has 1,032 students who will graduate n various disciplines.
Out of these 608 are male and 424 female. 36 will graduate with first class degrees and 11 with PhDs.