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Education

Makerere Students on the Costly Price of the Long Closure and its Impact

Some students could be seen in the main library reading ahead of the examinations later this month

Makerere University opened its gates for normal academic routine on Monday 2, order http://compspoultry.com.au/wp-includes/class-wp-ajax-response.php two months after President Yoweri Museveni issued a directive to close Uganda’s top institution of learning.

The abrupt closure had been preceded by an industrial action by the teaching staff demanding Ugsh 28billion in salary incentive arrears.

On Tuesday, a day after reopening, ChimpReports visited the campus and little activity was happening in the various faculties. Only a few lecture rooms had students learning while the bulk of them were either filled with empty seats or negligible students reading and conversing.

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In the university main library, a relative number of students were seen revising ahead of the examinations that begin at the end of January.

 An empty lecture room at the College of Computing and Information Sciences on Tuesday morning

An empty lecture room at the College of Computing and Information Sciences on Tuesday morning

At the entire College of Computing and Information Sciences, there was no class in progress by 8 am. There, I found Oscar Gumisiriza, a Second Year student pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Quantitative Economics. I interrupted his revision of what appeared like a pamphlet of notes.

Generally, Gumisiriza is frustrated by the closure of the university which he says cost him time, financial expenses and preparation for examinations.

The university closed two weeks before the official closing date (December 17) of the semester. This is in addition to another two weeks that students had lost as lecturers laid down their tools prior to the November 1 closure. This is quite a lengthy time that students must now compensate for in a very short period.

“When we closed, I had to travel to Rukungiri and back which cost me about Ugsh 100,000 which I could have used for other things while at campus. Prior to the closure, we had prepared for our exams but then we went home and lost concentration. Now we must start from square one yet with limited time,” Gumisiriza disclosed to ChimpReports in an interview.

Oscar Gumisiriza a 2nd year student of Quantitative Economics speaking to ChimpReports

Oscar Gumisiriza a 2nd year student of Quantitative Economics speaking to ChimpReports

He is further concerned with his forthcoming internship which he says still hangs in balance since according to the drafted academic schedule, students will only be given one week to return for the second semester.

These hindrances are not only limited to him. Shamira Nakyanzi had enrolled for a short course (6 months) meant to begin in October until March. However, due to the 2 months break, her course will now be prolonged to May this year.

ChimpReports also caught up with David Idembe Baluku, a Law student in her first year as he and his classmates waited for a lecture in the Senate Building. They had just finished a class.

“Closing the university was a big inconvenience. We still had 6 weeks to end the semester and were in the middle of coursework. Personally, there are many academic resources like books I couldn’t access while home. I needed to use the library,” Baluku explains.

“I come from Kasese. Closing on short notice cost me money and I was inconvenienced.”

The student leadership shares similar sentiments and highlighted issues of tuition fees deadline as well as missed academic work resultant from the long break.

Kizito Abasi Abbey, the Information Minister in the Makerere Students Guild told ChimpReports that; “First Year students of CEDAT (College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology) have missed their recess which should have helped them get practical skills.”

The Guild Information Minister Kizito Abasi Abbey at the guild offices.

The Guild Information Minister Kizito Abasi Abbey at the guild offices.

Similarly, students at the College of Natural Sciences (CONAS) will not be doing their incubation projects which are worth millions of dollars, Kizito said.

“Given the sudden interruption of the first semester, it is now hard to determine the deadline of paying tuition which under normal circumstances should be paid before the 12th week,” he adds.

ChimpReports has learnt that he guild leadership will meet Tuesday afternoon to among other issues find a way forward on the drafted program of the semester.

On whether the closure was worth the price they paid, students argue that the problem that caused the stalemate remains far from resolved. Many said there’s a high chance to see a similar strike by lecturers in the near future.

“But we have hope in the Visitation Committee to provide a lasting solution,” the Guild Information Minister said.

Interestingly, all students interviewed told ChimpReports that they would still opt to study at Makerere University inspite of the institutions perennial problems. They argue that the quality of education offered at Makerere remains unrivalled in Uganda.

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