By John Agaba
THE Democratic Party (DP) has challenged Makerere University to give accountability of all the monies they collect from their about 40,000 private students.
Fred Mwesigwa, DP’s press secretary, said on Tuesday; “I challenge the Vice Chancellor (Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu) and the university management to give us a proper accountability of all the monies they collect from private students.”
This was during the party’s weekly briefing at its headquarters in Kampala.
Mwesigwa said; “They even don’t know the exact number of students they have (under the private scheme) and they don’t know how much money they collect.”
However, Rita Namisango, the University’s public relations officer, said Makerere, being a public institution, was audited by the Attorney General (AG).
“Makerere appears before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee to explain her income and expenditure. If they can get this information from the AG,” Namisango said.
This comes hard on the heels of the University’s decision to place a 10% tuition increment on all first year private students intending to join Uganda’s largest institution of higher learning for the 2014/2015 academic year, a decision that many students have heavily contested and caused some of them taking to the university streets in protest.
Makerere University students demonstrated against the tuition increments among other things on Tuesday. Photo by Juliet Kasirye
Mwesigwa said: “All they are after is making money. We hear there are some faculties richer than others depending on the number of students they admit. But public institutions are not there to make money. They should offer a service at the minimum cost. If lecturers are not paid, it is the duty of government, not parents.”
Namisango, however, said the decision to place a 10% tuition increment on all first year students intending to join the university for the 2014/2015 academic year, was reached by the Makerere University Council, the university’s supreme decision making organ, after wide consultations.
“Everything has gone up. The cost of education has gone up, and research. We have to cater for the inflation,” Namisango said.
“We have a problem of inadequate funding. If we want to maintain the standards, we have to raise tuition,” Namisango said.
The tuition increment makes Makerere the most expensive public university in Uganda, for students admitted under the private sponsorship scheme.
For instance, while the new tuition fees for students intending to pursue Business Administration of Makerere University is sh1, 265,000, Kyambogo University charges tuition fees of sh910, 000 for the same course.
The tuition of Business Administration is also lower in Mbarara University of Science and Technology (sh930, 000) and Gulu (sh650,000 ).
The new tuition structure also makes Makerere more expensive than several private institutions of higher learning.
The tuition fees for Business Administration at Uganda Christian University is sh1, 060,000 per semester. Kampala International University (KIU) charges tuition of sh840, 000 for the same course.
Nevertheless, Makerere remains the cheapest among the leading institutions of higher education in the East African region.
John Chrysostom Muyingo, the minister for higher education recently said he respected the council’s decision to raise tuition by 10% as long as it was done after consultation with stake holders.