How administrative negligence has crippled Makerere University

  • by Dixon Kagurusi
  • June 25, 2017

In March 2016, media reports indicated that at least 12,000 Makerere University former students had not received their transcripts three months after they had graduated. This has been a common phenomenon whereby there is no one to hold officials at the University accountable.
When students graduate from the university usually in January, they always take months and sometimes years without their academic transcripts. This means that the students cannot compete in the job market since their counterparts have transcripts whereas those at Makerere make countless trips to the University in search of their hard earned transcripts.
According to sources close to the university administration in the academic registrar’s office, the institution has a management crisis with no leadership to demand employers to do their work when and how they are supposed to do it.

Students demonstrate after lecturers refused to teach them recently

For instance, on the issue of transcripts a source that preferred anonymity in order to speak freely says that the delay to feed students’ marks into the system continues to delay the printing of transcripts hence affected the issuance of the same to the owners.
“For quite some time now, our office receives students’ results after graduation in January, which makes it difficult to process the transcripts on time,” the source says.
The source however says that with better management at the top level, such issues of delay and others can be fixed.
He for instance gives an example of Prof Venansious Baryamureeba’s time, “results of students would be availed and fed into the system three months earlier to enable immediate printing of verified students’ results.”
Prof Baryamureeba restores hope
During Prof Venansius Baryamureeba’s era as vice chancellor, students would actually walk away with their transcripts on graduation day.
A source at in the Senator says that lecturers and administrators are always reluctant in doing their work something that makes work clog.
However, with Prof Baryamureeba set to take over the reins at Uganda’s oldest institution, most stakeholders feel that administrative challenges will be eliminated as it was during his time as VC.


Prof Baryamureeba takes on individuals who sleep on job

“If Prof Baryamureeba returns as VC, it will be good for the university. I am sure we wouldn’t be having problems of delayed transcripts, one of the things that have eroded public confidence in the university.
“I know Prof Baryamureeba, when he was here (at Makerere as VC) he had no business with people who didn’t do their work. Prof Baryamureeba would come for you individually,” says a source that believes Baryamureeba will fix most issues once he is back.

The source believes that Prof Baryamureeba’s demands from university officials contributed to the intrigue that saw him lose the VC job.

“I am sure those who sleep on duty are now afraid since Prof Baryamureeba doesn’t entertain mediocrity,” said the source.
Loss of public confidence
As a result of the continued administrative problems that among other things delay the issuance of transcripts, the university has continued to be overlooked by students and parents as they opt for new and young institutions of higher learning.
For instance, out of the 20,000 students who have applied for enrollment at Makerere, about 10, 000 (50%) want to join Makerere University Business School (MUBS), something that was rare in the past.
Most parents and students have also shunned Makerere University due to widespread strikes by both teaching and non-teaching staff as well as students.

The office of the academic registrar is housed in this building

It is not rare to hear stories of lecturers selling marks and offering marks to female students in exchange for sex. This has resulted in recent cancellation of hundreds of degrees and diplomas. All this has eroded the reputation of the 95 year old institution.
Drop in global rankings
Another area of concern has been the persistent and dramatic slip in global university rankings by Makerere which was initially on a steady rise.
For instance in the latest rankings Makerere University fell by five places in the 2016 ranking of the world’s top universities.
According to the ranking by higher education research firm QS, Makerere is 762 yet it was in was in number 753 a year before. It is feared that if the university doesn’t get good management, it will continue to lose ground to upcoming institutions.