Message from the Principal on the Students Unrest

My dear students,

It has been most unfortunate that the monitor newspaper yesterday Thursday October 29, 2014 published an article in they mentioned that Makerere University (MUK) was reviewing courses and as a result of the review some courses may be completely phased out allegedly due to budgetary shortfalls. This story was written by one Patience Ahimbisibwe. Several MUBS programmes were included in the list of the courses that were said to be scrapped. This story was most unfortunate and we the Management of MUBS reject in the strongest terms this kind of approach in managing University affairs.

MUBS is affiliated to Makerere University and has administration and financial autonomy. MUBS initiates and proposes programmes to MUK which the Makerere University Senate and Council finally approve since MUBS does not have a legal mandate to award degrees. It is therefore expected that if Makerere University wishes to revisit or even to the extreme scrap a course, MUBS will be requested to reconsider the course. Given the current legal status of MUBS, MUBS can request another university to award this degree on its behalf.

You are aware, that the only role MUK plays in your degree program is to admit you, register and award you a transcript and a certificate after graduation. The rest of the activities are performed by MUBS. It was therefore very unfortunate that such a statement which touches the very essence of the existence of MUBS was made and worse still and in the manner it was done. This statement caused unrest which led to the events of yesterday. However other than minor incidents, I would like to thank you for the peaceful protests.

We constituted a delegation of students on the affected programme and we met with the Minister of Education at about 4pm yesterday. In the meeting, the minister assured us that this was not a policy of government and they had not heard of such a move. The Minister indicated that His Excellency the President had requested Makerere University to review its programmes and he expected that a review of the programmes was a process which will definitely involve all the stakeholders and for MUBS programmes, MUBS is expected to be involved. The Minister promised that the top Ministry officials will meet this morning and will subsequently provide information on its position following consultations with Makerere University.

Responding to the issues raised by the students, the Minister assured the students that these challenges we were experiencing would be addressed by the proposed amendments in the law that is said to be in the process of being tabled to Parliament. It is in light of this, that I urge students to resume studies normally. MUBS has been a darling of parents and students because of its method of conflict resolution. I request that we do not move away from this.

MUBS ratings in the public will be lowered if we assumed an adversarial method of conflict management. The lowering in rate will affect the quality of your award and the confidence of the public. Do not give opportunity to the detractors of this great institution,

We expect that the Minister of Education will today let us know as promised but more important that the proposed amendments to the law to give MUBS full autonomy will be expedited.

We have our second course work tests starting tomorrow and the course work should run normally. I have communicated to you and I will put emphasis that you should have paid 40% of the tuition and paid the full functional fees, before you sit the course work tomorrow. We hope therefore that you resume your studies and allow those who want to sit their coursework tests to pay.

In the meantime, we will continue to pursue the right solutions to such challenges.

Prof. Waswa Balunywa, PhD

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