The issue of supplementary examinations is back on the table for discussion at Makerere where the student leadership sees it as the best way for the university administration to help finalists who still have papers to retake.
A student who has failed a paper would ideally have to wait for one academic year until when the failed paper is taught again. Because of this, hundreds of students fail to graduate on time.
And now the guild leadership has moved has pledged to prioritize supplementary examinations to help finalists with retakes to graduate in time.
A supplementary exam is an additional exam or any other form of assessment approved by the University management and given to students who have failed in the actual exam. This kind of exam has not been used at Makerere University despite efforts by students to have it. A report about the same was compiled by the 83rd students’ guild under Kato Paul and Jotham Burobuto. It however did not yield much.
On Monday, October 14, hopes to have supplementary examinations were resurrected this week, during a meeting between University management and the students' guild. In the meeting held in the Senior Common Room (SCR) of the Main Building, student leaders promised to prioritize the policy arguing that many students have failed to graduate because of a single paper or two in their final years.
“We have had many students who have failed to graduate because of just one paper. This frustrates them because they have to wait for another full year just to graduate yet a supplementary paper could have helped them to leave in time," argued Ahmed Abdrahmani, the guild minister for academics.
Isaiah Sserwada, the guild representative councillor (GRC) for School of Business, noted that students spend more resources in waiting for a paper they have failed in the final years. “Even with this increased tuition, one paper may deny some students a chance to graduate forever,” stressed Sserwada.
The guild president, Julius Kateregga, also added his voice by saying that the University Council should endorse supplementary examinations policy to ease pressure on students. He added that students who have failed to graduate create congestion and commotion like the former Mitchell Hall Chairperson, Bandola Polly, who had refused to vacate despite ending his term just because he still had a paper to retake.
The Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Eria Hisali noted that supplementary examinations come with their own challenges because a student is given only one chance to re-sit a paper. “With supplementary exams, if you fail it, it's done. But some students have been sitting a single paper three times which is not the case with a supplementary exam,” warned Prof. Hisali.
Makerere University operates under a relatedly similar policy called a special Exams policy. This policy, however, only applies to students who have missed a certain examination under inevitable reasons like severe illness, loss of a dear one among others. If a supplementary exams policy is passed, it will help final year students to sit papers they have failed to enable them graduate in time.