Makerere University Academic Staff Association [MUASA] chairperson, Dr. Deus Muhwezi, says staff need a living wage that changes according to living factors.
He was discussing the reported decision to scrap evening classes programme at NTV “Fourth Estate” programme on Sunday.
According to Muhwezi, evening programmes were not scrapped like the media has been reporting, they have been made business of colleges and the university will only manage the day program that runs from 8am to 5pm.
“These pronouncements were made to the media without enough consultation and we (MUASA) didn’t have knowledge about it, and that’s not right. Even senate didn’t even know.”
He said there isn’t much to comment about because there isn’t a comprehensive document to direct them.
“The evening programmes have no problem, what the university is trying to do is manage the evening programs in-terms of resource management.”
Dr. Muhwezi said business colleges are not always managed properly, they might end up with the same situation the university is trying to handle.
“But as MUASA, we demand for a write-up on this. We manage papers and awarding degrees, we don’t manage big contacts and money and that’s why we recognise that we need a living wage that changes according to living factors.”
He said the University administration never sits with MUASA to negotiate working terms so that they all can reach a win-win situation.
“We want to share the income generated. I understand the troubles in the main building and decisions that have been taken and pushed us to the wall as workers of the University.”
He said as long as the council that is marred by its interests and people looking for groceries, unless one faces it right and addresses the issues of both academic and non-academic administration, nothing will change.
He said feeding Makerere University is like feeding a child with diarrhoea.
“You will feed the University but you will never see what you put in goes.”
He said Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe has presented himself as a reform leader “so we would like to see consultative, strategic and a sure way of doing things and taking decisions”.
“Out of the 6000 government students, 4000 are non-resident and they therefore cater for their feeding. Only 2000 who reside in Halls are what we have been catering for,” he said.
The decision was reached after a survey conducted by the Dean of Students last year, where more than 50 percent of the students recommended receiving money instead of the university providing food.
The results of the survey were endorsed by the Finance, Planning and Administration Committee of Council, which presented the matter to Council for approval.
Following the decision, each of the over 6,000 government sponsored students, those residing inside the university and those living outside the university, will receive 476,000 shillings per semester for feeding.
According to Professor Nawangwe, the Students Affairs Committee will come up with strategies that will ensure that the university designates befitting places for students on campus to buy food.
Makerere has been spending close to six billion shillings on feeding 2,089 resident government-sponsored students every academic year and 1.87billion shillings on living out allowances for the non-residents.
According to Georgina Namuyomba, a student, as the top leaders push each other over income sharing, they should think about students.
“Some evening students work, all this should be looked at which they are not doing,” she said.
She added: “As students, our biggest challenge is the management. At College, hall and even the entire University, unless there’s an improvement, we have a long way to go.”
According to Onapito Ekomoloit, Corporate Affairs Director at Nile Breweries Limited, with Makerere University, it is entirely a management crisis not an issue of numbers.
“If someone is managing Uganda with 36 million, how about Makerere that just has 36,000 students,” he said.
He said unless Makerere separates the issue of money and administration, its problems will never end.
“It is sad and unfair that a centre of excellency like Makerere University has failed to manage its affairs. Also everyone is wondering, why are all these things happening at Makerere, why Makerere.”