Makerere University Private Students’ Parents’ Association (MUPRISPA) Ltd was formed to cater for the welfare of privately sponsored students at the University. To date the question posed is has the Association delivered?
The Answer is Yes, MUPRISA has delivered.
1. The Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 has no role of parents, however, submissions have been made by MUPRISA to the Hon. Minister of Education and Sports to have the law amended to incorporate the role of parents who sponsor over 80% of the student’s population.
2. Given the concern about raising the tuition fees by parents and benefactors of private students, MUPRISA has made a contribution by making submissions to the Ministry of Education and Sports in a paper “A Comprehensive Feasible and Sustainable Educational Loan Scheme in Uganda”. This is complemented by another paper “Identifying Clients for the Educational loan scheme and loan Recovery measures”. This effort was aimed at seeing the scheme operational in as short a time as possible and also have it sustainable.
3. The Association has made a proposal to the University administration to have “Makerere University Clearing House” This is at a time when students are having a lot of problems to get cleared which clearing can be done at One Stop Centre. The innovation will also help information management at the University.
4. We have also requested the University administration to make sure that clearing of students being done only after 2pm is scrapped so that students are cleared as they call on the clearing officers as long as it is office hours. (This problem seems to have been addressed by the administration).
5. In order to have accommodation facilitation improved we have requested the Ministry of Education to incorporate a section in the law to allow the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions of Leaning to lease out land to private corporate developers so as to help the accommodation of students, lecturers and lecture room facilitation. In addition the Makerere University Secretary has been requested by the Association to come up with a policy to guide private corporate developers who would wish to lease land and put up structures at the University.
6. The Executive Committee of MUPRISA has requested the University Administration to authorize Tuition fees Standing Orders as a mode of payment by parents/ benefactors who are salaried. This arrangement will help the cash flow problem of the parents/benefactors who are salaried.
7. The Association is trying to sell the idea of funding to parents/benefactors through a micro finance arrangement given the cash flow problem they face in raising tuition fees lump some.
8. MUPRISA has acquired some reading materials for the benefit of students, but the University administration is yet to allocate an office facility to help the students’ interact with the association management so that they can have access to the said literature.
9. A number of project proposals have been written which are meant to see the private students have a better stay at the University and also help with their employment after graduation. These projects will take off when the Association funding through the students’ contribution of shs. 10,000 per Academic year is authorized by the University administration.
The projects among others include:
a) Construction of students’ hostels at Campus
b) Meals for students
c) Construction of shelter facilities when out of lecture rooms
d) Website Launching for Private Students’ circumstances.
e) A number of other projects for enhancing the employment prospects after graduation
f) A Guidance & Counseling Resource Centre.
The Immediate challenge for the Association.
The major immediate concern of the Association as of now is the possibility of Makerere University increasing the tuition fees any time in the near future. If the parents/benefactors are having it rough raising the current tuition structure, there is urgent need for the parents to seat together and try to forge the way forward.
According to Makerere University Annual Report 2001 by the Planning and Development Department – March 2002, it is stated that the fees per student per annum is almost 30% of the true cost. For example, the average cost in Science is Ushs 5,757,000 while the existing fees in the Faculty of Agriculture and Medicine is U shs 1,920,000. The true cost in Humanities is U shs. 2,655,000 yet average fees in Humanities is U shs. 1,000,000.
Definitely, the parents cannot be opposed to an increment in the tuition fees but there are measures if put in place that can allow the parents/benefactors to have a softer landing. These among others may include:
1) Having the Standing Orders authorized as a mode for payment.
2) Having in place an Educational Loan Scheme to assist meet the parents/benefactors cash flow problem.
3) Having credit institutions ready to give parents/benefactors micro – finance facilities.