KAMPALA – The Education Committee of Parliament has advised against halting the 15% fees increase Policy at Makerere University.
In October, students of Makerere protested against the 15 per cent tuition increment on first-year students, which is being implemented as part of a policy that was passed by the University Council in June 2018.
Following the protests, Parliament directed that the new fees policy be halted pending a sustainable remedy to the financing gap at the University.
Now the committee on Education which interacted with the students, administration of Makerere among others has advised against halting the unpopular fees policy.
Jacob Opolot, the committee chairperson who presented the findings of the report on Wednesday says that the increment was already included in the Makerere University Budget appropriated by Parliament for the last two financial years and halting the increment would distort the budget execution.
Opolot says the fees increment did not receive the full endorsement of the student leadership structures due to lack of dialogue, mutual trust and consultation.
The committee however in its report has recommended that the Auditor General carries out a forensic audit on the management of finances at the University to ascertain accountability issues.
They also want Government to table a Supplementary Budget request to ease the current suffering of students and their benefactors.
In the report, the committee wants the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic to table before the House, proposals, plans and strategies for sustainable financing of Universities and tertiary education.
The committee also agreed with proposals that Government meets medical bills of students injured at the University, compensate them for properties lost among others.
In their findings, the Committee observed that the state of the Infrastructure at Makerere University is appalling and requires massive investments that Government should prioritize. The Committee also established that Makerere University is operating beyond its capacity which affects the quality of services offered.
“The current student population is 38,000 which are beyond the actual capacity of 27,000. The committee, therefore, recommends that the University management should restructure its academic programs and enrollment in line with its carrying capacity,” the report reads.
According to the report, the committee established that rooms in some Halls of Residences were being rented out and occupied by former students and other unauthorized persons, which compromises security at the institution.
In regards to suspended students, the committee has recommended that the University management rescinds their decision on all the suspended students.
However, the Minority report signed by Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante and two other MPs recommends that Government should honour the Parliamentary Resolution of halting the 15% fee increment as was passed by Parliament.
He also says in the report that Government should finance the funding gap of Makerere University