It is high time government became more serious and concerned about Makerere University. It has come to my attention that Makerere , the biggest university in Uganda has not been given the attention it requires. As an institution for higher learning and given the fact that education is a priority there is need to improve a lot starting from the individuals to the infrastructure. Makerere University was closed on the 1st of November 2016 by H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who has on very many occasions blown his trumpet calling himself the only man with a vision. Calling yourself a man with a vision yet you cannot solve the problems facing just an institution is like telling Ugandans since the 1980s that you brought peace yet the best your government has done is to promote corruption which in the history of the world has never been a sign of peace.
When lecturers’ strike started, some of the students I came across said “it is their responsibility to teach us, why should they strike?” but to be sincere if one put themselves in the shoes of these lecturers, are they sure they wouldn’t do the same? Isn’t it proper for every individual to play their role in any given institution( in this case I mean the government playing its role of paying lecturers), so as lecturers play their role of teaching, students taking on their responsibility of paying tuition and attending class. It is only fair enough for these lecturers to get their pay whether it is salary or allowances.
Alright one would say “after all they have been getting their past salaries” I think that is not fair enough, they need to get their full pay every month so that such things as strikes cease. Lecturers striked over the lack of pay of their incentive allowances. Since lecturers were not teaching, students decided to join because their tuition was going to a waste and their right to education was abused. This called for a presidential directive issued on Tuesday evening “to guarantee the safety of persons and property.” Isn’t this ironical? How can one be sincerely and genuinely interested in the safety of individuals and property yet they cannot look at the underlying factors that could bring about brought about the closure?
After the long wait of two good months for the reopening of Mak, the president finally reopened the mighty institution on 2nd January 2017. Staff members were required to resume work immediately and students were to start off immediately. But remember that the closure alone had caused a lot of inconveniences not only on the financial budget of the students and parents but also on the syllabus. We can see lectures trying as much as possible to cover a lot in the shortest time possible and students are required to understand a lot and do many course works at ago.
This is causing stress and we can see that the health of the students is at stake. Now students from other countries like Kenya are facing a big challenge resuming immediately. They need money to travel back to Uganda. Let’s not forget that the closure disturbed the “pockets” of the students and parents and the festive season makes matters worse. We cannot deny the fact that many people spend a lot during this period; therefore immediate resumption of school is hard. Catching up with everything is not something simple for both lecturers and students and what makes it harder is that it is the continuation of the semester not the beginning.
I am very positive that if each one of us took on their responsibilities, we would not be seeing these devastating scenarios eat us up. That is why I call for responsibility in every sector, if everyone played their role I highly doubt if we would see these strikes taking place. Every one of us has got other roles they play back at home besides the work they do , they also have plans so it is only fair for one to be given what they deserve if they worked had for it.
Pay workers in time and we shall not talk of strikes again unless one is just possessed by the spirit of striking. Well it all goes back to treasuring and respecting what we have. We have Makerere University ranked 4th in Africa, and still one of the best research institutions in Africa. Therefore it is only reasonable for us to appreciate what we have by taking on our responsibilities rather than just using power mandated unto us by the constitution without first thinking about the repercussions of the decisions made because they affect Uganda as a whole.