Mak Students Call for Semester Extension Following Fees Protest Disruptions

Students reading inside the Makerere University Main Library.
Inside the Main University Library. Students reading their books.
Written by: 
Precious Ashaba

 Students at Makerere University have intensified pleas for extension the semester following the recent student unrest and protests against the Fees Policy.

 

The more than two-weeks protests against the 15% tuition increment protests were sparked off by the 15 female students’ match to parliament on October 22nd, 2019 spearheaded by the female caucus of the 85th guild government.

 

The key players in the strike were the now suspended Siperia Mollie Saasiraabo, a representative for School of Psychology and winner of the MasterCard Foundation scholarship and Marion Kirabo, the Guild Minister for Gender, Ethics and Integrity and the Vice Guild President Judith Nalukwago.

 

The arrest of 15 female protestors and the subsequent serving of warning and suspension letters from Makerere University, while in police cells at Wandegeya, catalyzed the fees protest prompting the army and police to respond with what the public has regarded as highhandedness against students and journalists. 

 

With wide condemnation of the acts by the government security agencies, and the standoff between management and students at Makerere for more than two weeks and the intervention of students have pleaded with the university management to allow them an extension to conclude the syllabus and sit their tests and coursework.     

This request comes at a time when majority students at different university units claim not to have finished their courseworks and tests which were meant to take place in the misused two weeks of chaos. These coursework and tests contribute 40% and 30% of the final results.

 

Ruth Nabakabywa, a third year Journalism and communication student in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) says she had not done her two remaining courseworks and a test which were pushed forwards after relative peace had returned to Makerere which she says eats into her time for personal revision.  

 

 

“I did not do my sociology test meant for November 09, 2019 and Luganda Literature since they have been pushed nearer to the examination date. If it is possible. l request the administration to add us one more week for compensation of the lost time,” said Nabakabywa.

 

 

Billo Kouroma, another Journalism and Communication student offering Psychology as a course unit expresses fears of the unfinished presentations as time is against them. 

 

“We are not yet done with the class presentations and there are many groups that haven’t presented and we are running out of time. I think they should extend that semester with one week so as to cover up for the time classes were not going on as they should be,” Kouroma cries out.

 

Several other students from the School of Law and the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) have come out decrying tight schedules to complete studies with just days to examination.

“We have had less than six lectures for Luganda Literature 2 and only had one coursework of which we have not yet known how it was assessed. We were promised a test but the lecturer has never showed up ever since the strike,” complained Aisha Kirabo, a student from School of Education.

 

She has called for a semester extension to conclude their assignments and prepare adequately for their final examination.

 

Despite these calls, the university management has since insisted that there won’t be any such semester extension.

 

 

In a statement sent out on the institution’s social media platforms, the institution management said it had no plans to extend the semester in compensation of the lost time during the chaos in campus.

 

 

Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, the institution’s Vice Chancellor, acknowledged that the student rioters managed to disrupt a few classes during what he termed as isolated demos and riots, citing that most of the University activities continued normally.

 

Nawangwe in a statement sent out on October 31 said: “Management wishes to thank the students and lecturers who continued with normal activities despite the isolated disruptions.  Management calls upon all students and staff to resume classes immediately.”

 

 “Security for those carrying on with their duties will be provided.  Examinations will commence as planned on 18th November 2019 and there will be no extension to the Semester,” Professor Nawangwe added.