By Pascal Kwesiga & Andrew Ssenyonga
THE pass mark for degrees in both private and public universities has been raised under a new grading system aimed at promoting quality.
The grading, issued by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), does not affect continuing students.
Although it was agreed upon by public and private universities in 2008, the policy implementation starts this academic year.
Accordingly, first-class honours degree, whose cumulative grade point average stands at 4.4-5.0, is not affected. However, to qualify for a first-class degree, a student must now score 75 marks and above in all course units.
The grade points for the second-class upper honours were raised to 4.3-4.0 from 4.3-3.6, while the pass mark for the second-class lower degree moves to 3.9-3.0 from 3.0-2.8.
So, a student now needs to score 70-74% and 69-65% to qualify for upper and lower second class degrees respectively.
Marks for a pass degree were also raised to 2.9-2.0 from 2.5-1.5. Such a degree now requires a student to score 50-59% marks, while 49% and below is a fail.
The head of NCHE, Prof ABK Kasozi, yesterday declined to elaborate on the matter. His deputy, Prof. Michel Lejeune, however, said the new grading covers both public and private universities.
Makerere University students reacted angrily to the grading, and vowed to fight it, saying it favours other universities.
Guild president Shaban Senkubuge said raising the pass mark was not the only way of improving academic performance.
â€œWe are not ready to accept these changes because they are aimed at stopping students from getting first-class degrees. People are trying to protect their jobs and are making it hard for graduates to pass.â€
Senkubuge said the guild would meet today to decide the next course of action. â€œWe are prepared to ensure the policy is withdrawn. Itâ€™s easy to get these scores in other universities and not in Makerere,â€ he added.
The five public universities are Makerere, Kyambogo, Mbarara, Gulu and Busitema, in addition to over 20 private universities.