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By Vision Reporter

Added 28th July 2009 03:00 AM


Jane Biba (not real name) had missing marks. She had done and completed all her coursework assignments and had copies of her marked scripts. When the results came out the marks for one of her tests were missing.


Jane Biba (not real name) had missing marks. She had done and completed all her coursework assignments and had copies of her marked scripts. When the results came out the marks for one of her tests were missing.


By Stephen Ssenkaaba

Jane Biba (not real name) had missing marks. She had done and completed all her coursework assignments and had copies of her marked scripts. When the results came out the marks for one of her tests were missing.

“I do not know what happened,” she says. When she went to the concerned lecturer, he said he did not have her marks but could help if she accepted to sleep with him.

“I was confused,” she says crestfallen.

Sex for marks is all the rage around universities and other higher institutions of learning. It involves lecturers soliciting for sex from female students in exchange for academic favours. Sometimes, the practice is encouraged by students themselves who, after failing to meet their academic obligations, offer sex to their lecturers in exchange for good grades.

This practice, however, remains something of a puzzle to many. Is it the lecturers turning their vulnerable students into prey or perhaps, is it the students themselves that throw themselves into the hands of lustful lecturers?

Shanice Nasilo (not real name), a third-year student of Information Technology at Makerere University, says lecturers are the main perpetrators of sex for marks scandals.

“They deliberately lose our marks hoping to use that as bait to lead desperate female students into a sex trap,” she says.

Nasilo recounts an ordeal where her marks were deliberately misplaced by one of her lecturers. “I had the marked script with me, but the results were not indicated on the notice board. I confronted the lecturer, but he kept asking me to see him privately.”

Nasilo did not wait for him to lead her into the sex trap. She painfully abandoned the quest for her marks and had to repeat the test.

Nasilo cites another incident in her faculty where a lecturer who, after finding three female students consulting during an exam, threatened to cancel their scripts. When they went to his office to plead, he said he would forgive them only if they slept with him. Two of these students agreed, while one declined.

Jane Fibo, a mass communication student, says sometimes female students lure their lecturers into sex. “There are lots of female student who, after failing to meet their academic obligations, hope to sleep their way to a good grade,”

Such students put lecturers in a tight position. Some of them dress suggestively and go to lecturers’ offices at strange hours…” she says.

A Saturday Vision survey conducted on the sex for marks trend at Makerere University last year revealed that more often than not, lecturers are targets of sexual overtures from female students.

Out of the 50 lecturers interviewed in 12 faculties and institutes, 30% said they had been approached by girls who promised sex for marks, while 52% said they had ever received sexually explicit text messages, emails or notes from the girls. Seventy-eight percent of the lecturers complained that girls were deliberately dressing indecently or exposing their body parts, while 40% confessed that girls made unnecessary visits to their offices.

Lecturers also reported that female students winked at them (34%), deliberately brushed their bodies against them (22%), tickled their palms (16%) and stroked their breasts while speaking to them.

All these take place against the backdrop of supposedly strict measures by different universities against sexual harassment.

In 2006, Makerere University drafted a sexual harassment policy to check the alleged rampant sexual violations at the university. The policy put in place strong measures to check lecturers who ask female students for sex in exchange for good grades. It stipulates that a lecturer involved in sexual harassment would face a caution, suspension or dismissal.

Gilbert Kadilo, the university spokesperson, says the university is drafting another policy to check sexual harassment at faculty level.

“This policy will establish committees in different faculties to handle cases of unwanted relationships and sexual harassment between lecturers and students.”

The Uganda Christian University Mukono has strict guidelines to guard against compromising situations between lecturers and students.

“We have a code of conduct which provides guidelines on student-lecturer interaction. Other than academic consultations and other constructive learning, lecturers are not allowed to engage in any other kind of relationship with students,” says Vincent Mugaba, the university spokesperson.

Mugaba says there is also a disciplinary committee and a peer counselling department to which students are encouraged to report such cases.

“Once a case involving a lecturer and students has been presented to the disciplinary committee and proved, the culprits are dismissed,” he says.

Two years ago, Mugaba says, the university expelled a lecturer over a sex-related case.

Kyambogo University observes strict rules when it comes to marking test and exam scripts to minimise favouritism.

Scripts are marked first by a lecturer in charge of a subject and then passed on to a senior person to verify the marks.

James Bulenzibuto, the spokesperson, says expulsion awaits any lecturer who initiate sexual relations with students.

“Two lecturers have been expelled over such cases,” he says.

While lecturers may be at fault sometimes, Bulenzibuto says, lazy students are also known to initiate these encounters in anticipation of free marks.

Prof. Ssenteza Kajubi, a renowned educationist and one time vice-chancellor of Makerere and Nkumba universities, attributes the growing trend of such regrettable cases to an exam-oriented education system.

“As universities concentrate on imparting academic knowledge, they neglect inculcating important moral values into students. This has greatly compromised moral standards in higher institutions of learning,” he says.

Kajubi says universities need to come up with a strict code of ethics to guide students and staff. He also calls for more sensitisation of students and staff over proper conduct at the universities as well as improved leadership.


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