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    MPs Grill Makerere, MUBS and UMI Bosses

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    MUK, MUBS and UMI officials before parliament's education committee

     

    Officials from Makerere University (MUK), Makerere University Business School (MUBS) and Uganda Management Institute (UMI) have faced a rough time at parliament after being attacked by bitter members of parliament.

    MUK and MUBS official, who were led by the University’s Vice Chancellor, Barnabas Nawaugwe and the University’s Acting Principal, Moses Muhwezi respectively appeared together with the officials from the UMI before the education committee of parliament to explain their policy statements.

    Hell broke loose after the representatives from the three institutions had conclusively presented their statements and failed to mention the wrangles between the two universities, which forced Kalungu East MP Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu to launch an attack on them.

    “None of you has given us any complaints this time yet you have always disturbed us with complaints between your selves. MUBS, you always complain that MUK is your biggest problem but this time you have not outlined them in your challenges,” Ssewungu tickled the representatives from both universities.

    The Vice chairperson of the committee, Jacob Opolot also lashed at the officials for fooling Members and warned them that if this issue is being crossed over, they should never dream of coming back to parliament specifically to the committee of education for help.

    “Even when we have a proposal, where we disagreed with you on MUBS being elevated to a fully-fledged university, you still have not talked about it. In the meantime, as a committee, we are fade up with your wrangles. People always find problems obtaining their transcripts and some miss out on graduation because of your problems,” Conny Galiwango, the committee chairperson noted.

    Members were further concerned about the issue of sexual harassment that’s rampant in the universities. However, MUK DVC Barnabas noted that; “On the cases of sexual harassment that you have been hearing, we have the most comprehensive sexual harassment policies in the world and it is zero tolerance. We have handled all cases that have come to management and we will continue doing that.”

    Still in the committee, members did not welcome MUBS idea of closing student’s halls of residence at the university.

    Moses Kasibante further attacked MUBS and MUK for not indicating clearly the beneficiaries of the student’s loan scheme provided by the government yet it’s the number one defaulter. He arrived at this after Muhwezi claimed that the university is in a financial crisis because of defaulters.

    Members were not convinced with the university’s new policy of putting an end to evening programmes.

    “You are here lamenting about defaulters yet you are phasing out opportunities. We sponsor our staff who work during day and study in the evening,” Kasibante said.

    Nawangwe elaborated on why MUK University has stopped feeding students.

    “We have 36,000 students at Makerere, 6000 of them are government sponsored, 4000 of those live off campus and we pay them a living out allowance including money for their feeding. The 2000 who sleep at campus, are the ones we have continued feeding. However, they have now become a problem for us to continue feeding.

    We have decided that instead of trying to cook for them, we instead provide them with money so that they can look for food elsewhere because most of them complain that the quality and quantity of food has gone down.”

    Doctor Florence Nakayiwa, the director planning at the university noted that with all resources combined, both from government and non-tax revenue, 54% which is equivalent to 131 Billion was released by December 2017. She says that since the university is constrained in financial resources, they have embarked on a process of investing in the university land under an entity that was established by Makerere university council which will look at investments through public/private investment.

    On student’s welfare, Nakayiwa noted that the university has put in place a student disciplinary committee which will reduce cases of indiscipline at the university.

    She further noted that a centralized marking approach was adopted as one of the ways of minimizing issues of lecturers demanding sex from students for marks.

    She however said that as the university, incorporating all activities is not possible since they are constrained by resources.

    “You will agree that the development budget of Makerere university is 159 million shillings and that leaves just a small room for implementation of all the university programs. The budget generally covers employee costs and other academic costs ranging from examinations, ICT, student’s food and accommodation,” Nakayiwa said.

    On the other hand, officials from the Uganda Management Institute have surprised members of the committee when they informed them that among the achievements the university has had is the housing of a baby care center.

    “This is a new innovation, we have put up a baby care center for our students and staff. Most of our students are parents we don’t have young people. So, when they bring their babies, they are taken to the baby center which is well furnished with facilities for babies,” Dr. James Nkatta, the director UMI said.

    Nkatta was however attacked by several MPs on the committee for submitting mismatching documents to the committee.

    “Your work is not coordinated at all, if you have other copies submit them because we do not understand what you are trying to explain. We need more details on the unfunded priorities, where the budget committee can base to request for more funding from government.´ Ssewungu said.

     

    By Stella Mugoya

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    EDUCATION

    We Don’t Need To Be Threatened – President Museveni Warns Teachers Union Leaders…

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    President Tibuhaburwa Museveni

    President Museveni has assured teachers and key players in the education sector to stop using threats while pressurizing him into reopening learning institutions.

    During celebrations of the National Teacher’s day at Kololo, Museveni said they don’t have to be threatened.

    “”This lockdown time was for survival and am proud that we shielded our people from dying. We don’t need to be threatened. Why do you threaten me?” he asked.

    Museveni was responding to issues raised by Filbert Baguma the Secretary General Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) regarding the economic troubles faced by teachers who were put out of work as well as the increase in teenage pregnancies among the female learners who are stuck at home.

    “In Brazil they reached 600,000 deaths who died of corona. Here we have only seen 3000 deaths in one year and seven months. You think that is not important?” he asked.

    Having maintained total closure of learning institutions since March last year, Museveni says safeguarding the lives of learners supersedes any other concerns raised by stakeholders.

    “No amount of lost time is greater than lost lives,” he noted giving himself as an example of how he fought in the bush war to stabilize the country first.

    “The problem is some of you have not seen problems. I had to interrupt my life for 8 years in Tanzania fighting Idi Amin. Then 5 years in the bush that’s a total of 13 years. Is anybody better off than myself, the one who lost 13 years,” he emphasized.

    “The thing was to survive. Even if I lost time, if there is such a big danger it’s better than dying,” he added.

    Museveni emphasized that when they went to fight, some of the children left school and joined them in the bush and when they came back after many years of fighting, they started a Kadogo school in Mbarara and called them to resume their abandoned studies of which many of them are now doctors and what not.

    “You cannot compare death with losing time, jobs, money. That is reversible. I can lose today but tomorrow I will regain what I lost. But death is irreversible,” he said.

    First Lady and Minister of Education and sports Janet Kataha Museveni revealed that so far 60% of the teachers have been fully vaccinated.

     

    By Hope Kalamira

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    EDUCATION

    Higher Education Students’ Financing Board Awards 11,187 Students With Education Loans…

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    HESFB Executive Director Michael Wanyama

    The Higher Education Student’s financing board led by Executive Director Michael Wanyama has awarded loans to a total of 11,187 beneficiaries, 9,632 undergraduate degrees and 1,555 undergraduate diplomas.

    The board with funding from Government of Uganda set aside UGX6Billion to support 1500 new cohort of student loan beneficiaries and at least 100 continuing students in Academic year 2021-2022.

    “Beneficiaries to study 130 degree programmes and 76 undergraduate diploma courses mainly in Science Technology, Engineering and Math(STEM) programmes,” he said.

    “These are programmes which have been identified in the subsequent National Development Plans as essential for Nation Development and critical in filling the current human resources gaps in the country,” he added.

    Wanyama noted that persons with disabilities can access loans to pursue any accredited Programme of their choice including Business and Humanities Programmes under affirmative action.

    “These courses are currently tenable at 22 Chartered Universities (10 public and 12 private) and 36 other Tertiary institutions in Uganda. The Higher Education Students’ Financing Board (HESFB) has since 2014 been implementing the Student’s Loan Scheme, where qualified Ugandan students Loans in a bid to increase access to Higher education,” he said.

    He added, “I therefore announce to all prospective applicants that the Board is now open for applications for the 8th Cohort on the study loans under the Student’s Loan Scheme from eligible Ugandan students who have been admitted under the listed Undergraduate Diploma and Degree programmes for the Academic Year 2021-2022 in the Public Universities, Private Chartered Universities and the listed Other Tertiary Institutions.”

    About the Student’s Loan Scheme.

    The Higher Education Students Financing Board disburses fees to the successful Needy Students on a straight line basis and upon completion of Studies, they are offered a Grace period of 12months after which the maximum repayment period is twice the study duration.

    The scheme has added to the National stock of applied scientists in the four major areas of the Economy where in Health, the scheme has supported the training over 3,000 Health and Medical Personnel, over 2,000 Science teachers, 1,000 Agricultural experts and close to 3,000 Engineers among others.

    By Hope Kalamira

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    EDUCATION

    Education Minister Janet Museveni Halts Transfer Of Secondary School Teachers…

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    Education Minister Janet Museveni (Photo: Internet)

    The Minister of Education and Sports spokesperson Mr. Dennis Mugimba has disclosed that the First Lady who also doubles as the senior education Minister, Janet Museveni has halted the transfer of secondary school teachers with immediate effect.

    While addressing media today, Mr. Mugimba said the Minister made the decision after noticing inconsistencies in the transfer exercise which was marred by delays in getting the teachers on payroll, replacing the transferred teachers some of who have failed to report to new schools they have been relocated to.

    “The Minister of Education and Sports received credible information that the way secondary school teachers in government schools are transferred, was having many gaps,” Mr. Mugimba said.

    “It’s against this backdrop that the minister decided that the transfer exercise is halted for the time being until the loopholes have been fixed,” he added.

    Mr. Mugimba held, “She instructed that as a ministry we temporarily stop the transferring of secondary school teachers with immediate effect until an exercise which is going to be conducted by the Education Service Commission takes place.”

    He emphasized that this exercise will identify how long the teachers on payroll have actually been there and how many contract staff are in each school.

    “The validation exercise is expected to begin once secondary schools are reopened following a pronouncement by President Museveni,” Mr. Mugimba said.

    He also revealed that the ministry has trained 54 national trainers to train local governments about the Standard Operating Procedures that should be observed in educational institutions of learning amid planned reopening of schools.

    “We trained them about the issue of roles, who does what to ensure that our institutions of education are complying with these SOPs especially the role of the headteacher or the head of institution that is the principal, vice chancellor in ensuring compliance with SOPs,” he said.

     

    By Hope Kalamira

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