OPINION: Reasons why Makerere University woes are not to be solved soon

Makerere University woes will not be solved unless the powers that be listen to alternative views. First of all there is a policy challenge. The private sponsorship scheme started without a policy framework. Up to now there is no policy of private sponsorship at public Universities in Uganda. How does a university be public and private at the same time? There should be a policy to clearly define this private and yet public status of a University?

Two, there is a governance problem. The highest governing body is the University council. In my opinion this council should be an independent body composed of individuals dedicated to education service but not necessarily those affiliated and loyal to the regime so that the team can provide an independent oversight to the university. Kisanja Akuna Mucezo militaristic patronage based attitudes and values cannot work at a university because a university by its nature is a liberal institution. Those seeking to use military means to resolve university issues are on the wrong side of history. In fact council which is the highest governance organ of the university should be held accountable for the university crisis.

Three, I think when appointing management there should be a criteria beyond academic qualifications. True the University needs intellectual leadership and therefore needs people of high intellectual caliber such as professors but it should be professors with also emotional and relational intelligence. Cognitive intelligence (academic intelligence is necessary but not sufficient). Emotional and relational competences are necessarily to handle a diversity community such as a university. You need a universal mind to lead an institution with universal characteristics.

Fourthly, there is need to break the tradition of students always using rioting as a pressure tool to address issues of a policy nature. You can actually strike without rioting and even disarm those who are craving to beat you. Secondary, students should also seek to target policy makers when striking over policy matters such as fees increment. The students should also come up with policy alternatives and seek to petition relevant authorities such as the university council, ministry of education and parliament to address policy matters. The problem of fees increment is primarily a policy problem and secondary a management problem. You cannot resolve a policy issue by merely looking at management.

The writer, Mr. Mwambutsya Ndebesa is a lecturer at Makerere University.


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