By Innocent Anguyo
President Yoweri Museveni will shoulder the burden of paying the additional 10% fees slapped on the first year privately sponsored Makerere University students.
However, the President will not pay the additional 10% fees for these students when they reach second year.
Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu told New Vision that the President made the decision Thursday, in a meeting with the institution’s leadership held at State House, Entebbe.
The Makerere University team was comprised of Chancellor Prof Mondo Kagonyera; a representative of the students’ guild; members of the University Council; and members of top management headed by Ddumba.
The President’s decision comes five days after Makerere University fresh students reported for the new academic year which started on August 16. Many of them have since paid their fees, inclusive of the 10% increment.
Ddumba nevertheless said all students who have already complied with the 10% increment will pay less fees in the next academic semester which kicks off in January 2015.
Ddumba said the President stepped in to pay the additional fees for the students because many had not prepared for it since the policy was publicized recently, and yet the university could not alter its 2014/2015 budget which captures the fees increment as source of revenue.
“The 10% fees increment still stands, what has only changed is that this time around the President will pay for the students. Next year, the students will pay the additional fees,” explained Ddumba.
During the meeting, Ddumba said the President ordered the Makerere University management to calculate the unit cost of educating each student and furnish him with their findings in a month’s time.
The findings, Ddumba said would then be used to formulate an accurate fees structure for privately sponsored students.
“The President has said that the students must pay the fees as determined by unit cost. We shall go back after one month to negotiate further with the president,” said Ddumba.
Ddumba added that the President told them not to factor in the component of the remuneration for staff during the computation of the unit cost of training students, on grounds that “government could take over the entire wage bill of the institution in the next financial year.”
Makerere University currently foots 42% of the wages for its 1,300 staff. Ddumba revealed that the institution contributes sh2.5b of its internally generated funds towards wage bill of its staff.
Ddumba revealed that the annual unit cost of training a student at Makerere University is sh6m for Humanities and sh12m for science disciplines.
Ivan Bwowe, the Makerere University Students’ guild president thanked the President for coming to the rescue of the students, saying stability would return to the institution since the increment had triggered demonstrations at Uganda’s most populous university.
The Makerere University Council, the institution’s supreme decision making body had earlier approved a 10% fees increment for freshmen joining the institution under the private sponsorship scheme in the 2014/2015 academic year.
The new Makerere University fees structure increased the tuition for Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery increase from sh1, 344, 000 to sh1, 478, 400 per semester.
Makerere University admitted over 21,000 students under the private sponsorship scheme for the 2014/2015 academic year.
This means that the President could pay about sh2.1b on behalf of the students for this semester.