At least 500 students admitted to Makerere University on district quota system have not received their admission letters. Members of the non-teaching staff at the eight public universities went on strike on August 1st demanding salary enhancement and arrears amounting to 28 billion shillings. The strike came into force as universities were preparing to open for the 2016/2017 academic year.
John Muhumuza, an official in the Admissions Office at the university says that the districts had not finished verification by the time non-teaching staff went on strike.
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This academic year, Government admitted 896 students from the 112 districts in Uganda under the quota system to study in the various public universities across the country. At least 500 of these are to study at Makerere University, the biggest and oldest tertiary institution in Uganda.
Under the current arrangement, universities identify the students supposed to benefit from the sponsorship through their applications and later send the names to the home districts for verification.
While the Makerere University Convocation under the Chairmanship of Dr. Tanga Odoi had offered to distribute admission letters to privately sponsored students at the beginning of the strike, a cohort of 500 students were left out as they awaited clearance from the home districts.
Muhumuza puts the actual number of students affected at 900 including those admitted to other universities.
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Some of them say they are disappointed after they lost financial resources coming to collect their admissions only to be told that the staff are on strike. One of them, Loyce Nakazzi, spoke to Uganda Radio Network.
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Carol Wanyeze, a student from Mbale district was admitted to study Library and Information Sciences at Makerere University. She says she has been to the university three times to pick her admission letter but was told they were only catering for private students.
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Members of the non-teaching staff at the eight public universities went on strike on August 1st demanding salary enhancement and arrears amounting to 28 billion shillings.
The strike came into force as universities were preparing to open for the 2016/2017 academic year. At Makerere, the opening day had been scheduled for August 6th until the strike forced the vice chancellor, Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu, to push the date to August 13th. However, this was again changed after staff and the ministry of education failed to come to an agreement. Prof Ddumba then issued another notice suspending the university indefinitely.
The university Council had scheduled a meeting early today to discuss the possibility of opening the university without the non-teaching staff. This was in line with an assurance given yesterday by Education Minister Janet Museveni that all public universities would open today, Tuesday. The meeting was, however, called off after staff representatives were invited for another meeting with President Yoweri Museveni.
Makerere University Council Secretary Charles Barugahare announced that the meeting which was to begin at 8:30am has been postponed without indicating another date.
Dr Charles Wana Etyem, the chairperson of Makerere University Council told URN earlier today that the president requested to meet a 12-member team from the non-teaching staff together with University Council members. The meeting is taking place at State House Entebbe.
The acting Vice Chancellor Dr Ernest Okello Ogwang told URN this morning that the council, as the supreme governing body of the institution, is working tirelessly to reopen the university.
"It is in the interest of the university to open. Everyone in public, students and lecturers are getting concerned. We only have to wait for council to meet and decide," Dr Ogwang said.