For the past few months I have been looking at the events as they have been unfolding at the Ivory Tower emanating from the new tuition policy. I was sudden by the way the students’ leadership reacted to the numerous hasty suspensions and warning letters.
To the guild president, playing dumb may have seemed the only option then but he forgot that this affects us all. Way back he started too good, fighting for a common cause: those that trusted him with power.
We miss the old Papa Were, who knew that giving government students 4500 for all meals is not enough. The one we knew would not believe in continuous tuition increment: at worst he would fall in for a one time increment. Unit cost billing was something he could never kowtow to.
Today, he makes conclusions like he was part of the ‘Rwendeire committee.’ Soon or letter our halls of residence will see their way to the private sector at his hands.
The students have resorted to using social media to air their views but this has not been effective. Since those to re-echo their pleas seem to be ‘compromised’. We miss the Makerere where freedom of expression was an obvious right.
We must keep in mind that the institution implemented a new academic information management system. This is moving hand in hand with the new tuition policy sensitization. The new system automatically adds sur-charges on the students account if they don’t pay a given amount at specific dates. The administration seems not to care about what the students think but more of implementation.
Student feedback plays an important role in the smooth running of the institution, but ‘we’ are suffocating with policies and our opinions concealed. This is quite dangerous because it can portray stability in the institution at the cost of the largest stake holders’ students.
All these can be sorted amicably if the administration improves on their student engagement skills. When it comes to such sensitive policies the GRC must be mandated to get back to the different constituencies for signatures. This will create inclusiveness for the entire student fraternity and help in collective policy ownership.