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Mak admits financial crisis as students miss internship

FILE PHOTO: Makerere University

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Dr Mohammed Kiggundu Musoke, the acting Manager Communications and International Relations at Makerere University has regretted delayed remittance of funds.

He says the university managers have been engaging with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to disburse money to the university, a process that has delayed and stalled university programmes including recess term and internship for students.

Kiggundu was responding to students concerns over unpaid allowances for food, accommodation and transport for their internship.

Addressing journalists at the guild offices Makerere University Guild President, Julius Kateregga described the failure by the university management to release the allowances and facilitation on time as intentional.

He adds that this has not only hindered the students’ academic but also their exposure in the field of learning.

“As a student’s body, we shall not entertain any lies and stories of blame games between management and the ministry of finance. Students at certain Colleges missed practical exams due to the financial constraints and the unfair financial systems where university cannot access money to address emergencies,” Kateregga observed.

Adding that; “Students at College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resource and Bio-Security (CoVAB) missed practicals during exams, students at College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) did not start recess at all up to four weeks now and most of them have not travelled to their specific field attachment areas. Students in the Halls of residence have nothing to feed on, and School practice is under threat for education students because it is not facilitated to run normally.”

On Friday last week, a section of students who were largely from the Makerere College of Health Sciences disclosed that the university had advised them to borrow from their relatives and set off for their Community-Based Education and Research Services and the university refunds later, an option they rejected.

Judith Nalukwago, a third year- Bachelors of Dental Surgery, who also doubles as the Vice Guild President says none of the 300 students currently in their third years at the College of Health Sciences have left for their attachment arrears due to funds.

She discloses that students are paid between 220,000 and 280,000 shillings depending on the the place of attachment for outreach.

Nalukwago notes that majority of students affected, under government sponsorship have lost most of their valuables such as laptops to be able to survive, while others have sold their accommodation spaces in halls of residence as a result of the financial crisis.

Students have also rejected the cumulative 15% tuition increment policy by the university management arguing that there was no proper consultation to arrive at the annual tuition increment.

Abbas Luyombo, a visually impaired second-year law student who also doubles as a guild Justice and constitutional affairs says they have already finalized a process to challenge the tuition increment process citing it was marred with blackmail, fraud and was in bad faith.

Luyombo says the student leaders have already received a petition from private students about the same arguing that students who were sent out to benchmark on tuition fees were cornered by administrators.

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