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Sorting the Makerere problem: Prof. Nsibambi's views

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Added 30th October 2019 10:54 PM

I have always been disgusted by the increasing hooliganism at Makerere University, which is becoming infectious to other universities. I wish to give the following causes of hooliganism and possible answers to it:

Sorting the Makerere problem: Prof. Nsibambi's views

I have always been disgusted by the increasing hooliganism at Makerere University, which is becoming infectious to other universities. I wish to give the following causes of hooliganism and possible answers to it:

Professor Apolo Nsibambi, a former Makerere University Chancellor and also former Prime Minister of Uganda, in a May 1, 2015 article in the New Vision proposed ways of addressing violent student strikes at the university. We present excerpts.
 
I have always been disgusted by the increasing hooliganism at Makerere University, which is becoming infectious to other universities. I wish to give the following causes of hooliganism and possible answers to it:
 
1.The staff: student ratio is so high that there is very little contact between students and the academic staff. Under these circumstances, the academic problems of students are not addressed by the academic staff, who are also poorly remunerated. The tutorial system has virtually collapsed. Frustrated students who are not even known by the academic staff became attracted to hooliganism. When I was the chancellor of Makerere University, I urged the vice-chancellor and his team to reduce the student intake until the lecture rooms and other infrastructures match student intake.
 
2. Whenever students strike, the academic staff tend to leave this problem to the central administration and to the University Council and yet they should be involved in solving the problem.
 
3. Religious leaders of the two chapels and one mosque should also address hooliganism and suggest their solutions to the vice-chancellor.
 
4. In some cases, the policemen have fraternized with students. The policemen, who have so far done a good job in containing hooliganism, should be strict and arrest hooligans and take them to the courts of law. The policemen should also protect the shops which surround the university so that they are not looted by students.
 
5. The university must install more CCTV cameras in strategic places so that they may capture the faces of the hooligans who damage university property. The hooligans must pay for the damaged property and should be suspended from the university for a semester or a longer period depending on the gravity of their case.
 
6. The University Council should refrain from making unrealistic decisions. For example, it increased graduation fees from sh90,000 to sh200,000. This decision played into the hands of hooligans. It was essential to increase graduation fees, but the increase was too high.
 
7. If the council is to make a decision on a controversial matter affecting either students or members of staff, the chairman of the council and the vice-chancellor should invite the chairman of the Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) and his or her team and some influential senior members of staff so that they may have an input in the proposed matter before it is discussed in senate and council. The chairman of the council and the vice-chancellor should also meet the Guild President and his or her government so that they may have an input in the proposed matter.  The students should be shown the logic of increasing the fees so that they accept the level of the fees increase. The chairman of the council and the vice-chancellor should meet the chancellor of the university so that he may have an input in the proposed controversial matter. They should also meet the dean of students and wardens so that they may have an input in the proposed controversial matter. Finally, the chairman of the council, the chancellor and vice-chancellor should meet the President and the Minister of Education, Sports, Science, and Technology for their input in the proposal so that they do not disown the agreed proposal when students stage a strike opposing it
 
8. The Minister of Education, Sports, Science, and Technology has the responsibility to work with the university council to solve strikes. Students like other groups have a right to demonstrate against any policy, but they must not damage University property or the property of other people.
 
9. The manager of the counseling department, who normally gives a report to the vice-chancellor, should also give a report to the Senate every three months so that the Senate makes recommendations to the council. This will enable the academic staff to capture the problems afflicting students.
 
10. The dean of students should submit a report to the Senate every three months concerning major issues afflicting students.
 
 President Museveni made a good decision when he pledged that a professor will get sh15m per month, an associate professor will earn sh13m, a senior lecturer sh11m, an assistant lecturer sh9m, and a teaching assistant sh5m. However, the President made a mistake when he ignored rewarding administrative staff because they support the academic staff in the running of their academic programs.
 
11. The role of a warden in forestalling student hooliganism. When I was a senior warden in New Hall (now Nkrumah), a warden played a key role in forestalling student hooliganism. The warden knew many of his/or her students. Those who had problems would approach him or her and the warden would attempt to address the problems. The wardens and the dean of students knew the students who were trouble makers and counseled them. The warden would visit the areas where non-residents stayed to approve them. Currently, the institution of warden has declined in efficacy.
 
12. It must be pointed out the basic cause of hooliganism is that some students are not properly brought up by their parents. They lack moral values. These students need a lot of profes­­sional counseling.
 
13. The rules of the university must be gazetted so that they may have legal effect. This problem has arisen when students have appealed to courts of law when they have been dismissed from the university and the university has lost the case because their rules are not gazetted.
 
 

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