By Conan Businge
The Ministry of Education has warned that public universities and other education institutions will be severely affected if the Government does not immediately release about sh41b to fund their operations.
In a letter copied to the Principal Private Secretary to the President, Prime Minister, Auditor General, the ministers of education and finance, the education ministry said it urgently requires the funds to make sure the critical areas are not affected.
In another internal memo, the education ministry warned that without the quick release of funds, there could be unrest in the universities.
“It should be noted that if our request is not met, there might be strife in universities,” warns the memo.
The education ministry said public universities were on the brink of freezing a number of their operations following delayed release of funds for the second quarter.
The affected universities include Makerere, Kyambogo, Gulu, Mbarara, Busitema and Kampala International University, a private university.
Lecturers on evening programmes in Makerere, have also not been paid and are already protesting.
Apart from universities, the letter says there are fears that examination bodies of business, technical and vocational education and training institutions which have just embarked on ‘Skilling Uganda,’ “may have to abort the reforms if no releases are made quickly.”
Others affected are the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board, Uganda Allied Health Examinations Board, and the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examinations Board. Sources have also revealed that public universities have indicated that they will not allow State-House sponsored students to sit for this semester exams unless the education ministry pays.
There are 6,840 students sponsored by State House in various institutions of learning across the country.
State House-sponsored students in universities form the biggest number at 4,516 followed by those in secondary schools at 1,876.
The Government releases about sh20b annually to cater for State House scholarships for students at all levels of education.
Makerere alone is demanding sh4.5bn while other public universities are demanding about sh6bn in outstanding fees as tuition for students sponsored by State House.
A source said at Kyambogo, following the recent closure of the university, “there has been delayed payment of tuition by private students on top of Government funding, which is crippling the university’s operations.”
Gulu University has just received sh200m for State House students since the semester started. “It just came at a time when we needed it most. The university activities were coming to a halt,” said the Vice Chancellor Prof. Nyeko Pen-Mogi.
Private universities with State House students are already stopping them from doing examinations. Over 700 State House sponsored students of Kampala International University–western campus in Bushenyi district, have been stopped from sitting for examinationss.
State House owes Kampala International University sh5.7bn for mostly the medical students.