A section of University Vice Chancellors has rejected a demand by students for a reduction of tuition fees.
On Wednesday, Makerere University Vice-Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe, Kyambogo University’s Prof. Eli Katunguka, and Uganda Christian University’s Dr. Aaron Mushengyezi met the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga following a petition by guild leaders from different public and private Universities to reduce on tuition fees.
The meeting was also attended by the Minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo and State Minister of Finance for General Duties Gabriel Ajedra.
Recently in their petition to Parliament, the student leaders noted that final students who were allowed to report back are facing challenges of fees and that it should be reduced given that they are going to study for only two months before sitting exams.
The students argued that the Covid-19 pandemic affected different businesses and therefore they should be allowed to sit for examinations and later complete their payment before receiving their transcripts.
However, Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Umaru Kakumba said that unlike other lower institutions, by the time of closure of the institution in March, they had covered 90 percent of the syllabus and only waiting to complete the remaining 10 percent and writing of exams.
He noted that students who may not be able to complete their studies due to fees or other reasons will not be penalized by the institution.
Nawangwe who recently said that returning finalists should pay full tuition said that they would discuss the matter and report to the Ministry of Education. Makerere has a total of 11,000 final-year students.
Prof. Eli Katunguka said that by the time the universities were closed in March, students had covered 75 to 80 percent of the syllabus and were supposed to have paid all their tuition fees.
He insisted that the final year students should complete the payment of their fees before sitting examinations and that the institution is not levying any extra fees.
Dr. Aaron Mushengyezi was hesitant to commit to the reduction of tuition fees saying that the matter had already been discussed by the University management and Council. He however said that he will consult further with the University Council on the matter.
He told the Speaker that the University would allow students with financial challenges to sit for their exams and complete payment before they collect their transcripts.
The Minister for Higher Education, John Chrysostom Muyingo appealed to the Speaker to avail his time together with the University heads to come up with a harmonized position on the matter.
The Universities were given two weeks to discuss and come up with a position and report back to Parliament.
In March 2020, all education institutions were closed by President Yoweri Museveni as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19. Last month, they were allowed to reopen for only final students on condition they adhere to the covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures- SOPs.