Decentralize funds, CEDAT dean advises

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By Samuel Kamugisha

The Dean School of Engineering, Dr. Umaru Bagampadde, has urged the University Council to decentralize funds if Makerere University is to benefit from the collegiate system. He made this call during an interview at his office at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) on Monday November 11th. “The finances are still centralized. The colleges do not have autonomy over how to spend according to their budget,” he said, adding, “Council should come up with a decision to decentralize the control of finances so that each college can only contribute a certain percentage of its funds to the centre.”

He also said that there were unnecessary bureaucracies and expenditures that the university could do without under the collegiate system. “For example, why do we still have the internal audit? We can have one auditor to deal with all the colleges. Each college can have its own internal auditor and then an external auditor can audit all the books in the college at the end of the financial year,” he said.
Dr. Bagampadde also said that the system cuts their budgets, hampering activities at the center. “We normally plan ahead of time, we make budgets, including for the coming years and submit them but we find that the response from the centre is in most cases scrapped budgets, and that in a way impairs our operations,” he said. The same concern was echoed by Ms. Betty Kyakuwa, the Public Relations Officer for CEDAT. “We do not have money to facilitate some activities such as publicizing our innovations because the centre has cut our budget,” she said.
Meanwhile, most students continue to look at the college system as not necessary while others do not know anything about it. “I have no idea, for me I deal with the department. For example if I have missing marks, I go to my department. The rest do not concern me,” said Ronald Nimanya, a third year student of Bachelor of Commerce. “To be honest with you, I do not know that we are under this system. I’m hearing it from you for the first time,” said Doreen Birungi, a second year student of Animal Production Technology.
Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of academic affairs acknowledged the loopholes in the system but was quick to add that the system was necessary. “True, there are problems like lack of financial autonomy at college level. However, it’s also true that the system is three years old and there will be efficiency and effectiveness with time,” he said. “There is need for patience as we transition into the new system because it is necessary after all,” he added.
The University Council On 17th December, 2010, unanimously approved Senate’s recommendation to transform Makerere University into a Collegiate University. The 22 faculties were restructured into eight colleges. These are; College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences College of Business and Management Sciences College of Computing and Information Sciences, College of Education and External Studies, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology, College of Health Sciences, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security and the School of Law which will transform into a college in future. The rationale was that the university as a whole had become too big to manage as a unit but loopholes have been emerging with some people looking at the system as rather too expensive.