Innocent Anguyo and Moses Walubiri
Makerere University Law students were on Monday left stranded after lecturers went on strike over the administration's failure to heed to their demand for allowances for conducting evening lectures.
The decision to stay evening lectures till further notice was reached during a sitting of the School Board, the academic policy making body of School of Law.
Makerere lecturers used to earn handsomely from evening lectures depending on their qualification and the module taught only for the inducement to removed and added to the consolidated allowance.
The consolidated allowance was created following weeks of negotiation between the Makerere University Council (Institution’s highest decision making body) and staff in a bid to end a strike by the latter who were then seeking a pay double as a prerequisite to work.
The staff and Council then agreed that since the university could not shoulder a pay double for the staff just yet, all allowances at Makerere would be merged to foot an allowance increment for all staff.
From then on, each member of staff was to get a monthly salary and receive 70% allowance increment bankrolled by the consolidated fund.
`It was further agreed that no member of staff would be paid allowance for teaching on evening.
Initially, before the deal, lecturers could earn between sh1m and sh8m for teaching on evening, according to sources at the university.
However, despite the lack of mandatory payment for evening lectures, the dons would still have to teach on evening as long as it was within their teaching load since they agreed to abide by the mandatory work load, Makerere stated recently.
According to the Makerere University Quality Assurance Policy Framework, the maximum workload (hours per week) lecturers is 40 hours. The mandatory contact hours are based on visible and monitorable workload which should be a minimum of 10 contact hours per week and maximum of 12 hours.
The Makerere University Human Resources Manual also stipulates that the normal working day for academic staff shall be from Monday to Sunday.
In light of the above, the payment of the incentive to academic staff would be based on the mandatory teaching load, the University further stated.
“Makerere University runs day and evening programmes. The time tables in each academic unit are drawn in consultation with the teaching staff, who in consideration of their workload among other factors, are assigned lectures on weekends (Saturday and/or Sunday),” Ritah Namisango, Makerere senior publicist said recently.
The idea behind consultation, Makerere said is to ensure that during the time table process, each member of the academic staff is assigned the mandatory teaching load and ensure that both the day and evening programmes in each academic unit are catered for.
“For instance, some students enrolled on the day programme have lectures on Saturday. You will also note that some students enrolled on the evening programmes study on Saturday and/or Sunday,” added Namisango.
However, academic staff who taught beyond the mandatory teaching load would be entitled to an extra load allowance of UGX. 50,000/= per contact hour.
“Academic staff who teach big classes will be given due consideration during marking of scripts, and consultations are going on between the University Management, Principals, Deans and the staff association,” said Namisango.
Speaking to the New Vision on phone, Harriet Musinguzi, the spokesperson of the School of Law said the Law lecturers however argued that they often completed their mandatory contact periods earlier in the week and also taught at night unlike their colleagues in other colleges who stopped at 5:00pm