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Makerere allows students to sit exams with pending tuition fees

Makerere students sit for exams last semester. PHOTO URN/File

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University has allowed students with tuition balances to sit examinations because of the shutdown of the payment system. The university is transitioning from Academic Information Management System-AIMS to for Academic Management Information System-ACMIS, a new records management system, which has affected payments.

The university is scheduled to commence examinations on September 13, 2021. In his circular issued on Tuesday evening, the University bursar Evarist Bainomugisha said that the Senate had allowed continuing students and first-years to proceed with their forthcoming examinations and clear the fees when the new system is fully operational.

“The payment of tuition balances and registration will be made after the ACMIS student portal has been activated,” he said. He revealed that the results of students that don’t register and pay tuition when the system becomes operational would be withheld until they clear the balance.

In 2018, Makerere University acquired AIMS, a user-friendly system where students could do self-registration for each new semester, generate reference codes for tuition payment and access their results from any location. All a student needed was a registration number to have a personal account.

However, from the time Zeenode Uganda Ltd, which owns AIMS switched it off, the University has gambled to weather through a season combined with preparation for examinations, the commencement of a new semester and admission of postgraduate students. This has affected both learners and the university management, which is supposed to run the institution based on the system.

Gaudino Lusiba, a student in his first year at the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences says it is when he attempted to register for the current semester that he realized the system had shut down. He said that a number of his classmates will be challenged in case the new system is delayed.

Another student at the Master’s level from the college of Humanities and Social Sciences who prefered anonymity, said that he was distressed that the AIMS system shut down before she could register and pay tuition. “Instead of continuing with my reading, things are stressing me out. I am sponsored but I cannot even tell whether my tuition will reflect.”

Registration helps students enroll for particular course units they are to study each new semester. At the end of the semester, a student cannot sit examinations for course units they did not register for, as learners wouldn’t be officially recognized by the University for that module.

However, this year on June 7, 2021, schools and higher institutions of learning suffered disruptions when the president ordered a lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, which hit the country. As a result, Makerere University is conducting online examinations, which students that had not registered could not access.

Ankunda Shanita explains that she wanted to open an account on the university eLearning platform-MUELE (Makerere University eLearning Environment) but she was told to first register for the semester, which she had not done.

Exemption from the tuition payment and registration will ease the number of issues the students have been stressed over ahead of the forthcoming examinations. At the moment, the AIMS system is only accessible to the Directorate of ICT and Support, which is working to transfer all university data to ACMIS.

Bainomugisha also communicated that the same the directorate is endeavoring to see that the new student portal system ACMIS is activated by end of this week. The system transition from AIMS to ACMIS by all public universities was attributed to the fact that AIMS was owned by a private company, which cut University control off its own data.

Technicians at the universities hope that ACMIS will be more efficient in network flow and processing speed as servers will be on campus grounds.



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