Makerere University ditches evening courses
KAMPALA (THE OBSERVER) – Lecturers from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University have resolved to phase out teaching on the evening program in the 2018/2019 academic year.
The lecturers unanimously resolved this during an emergency college academic board meeting chaired by the the college principal Prof Edward Kirumira. The meeting was held in the Gender Conference hall at the school of Women and Gender Studies on Wednesday.
“We have agreed to give management a grace period of up to February 14. And within that time, central management has agreed to clear all the dues related to evening program,” Prof Kirumira told URN in an interview. The lecturers noted that teaching on the evening program in its current form is no longer tenable.
The same meeting also resolved that the college proposes modalities for a new program. According to Prof Kirumira, the college is considering shifting the evening program to afternoon or running parallel programs.
“We have also agreed in the academic board meeting that the evening program in its current form is no longer tenable, and that we’re going to restructure the evening program in a way that will not completely remove the evening program but is presented in a different way.
We have talked about the various proposals, we have talked about a parallel program with the current day program or an afternoon program. It was noted that from the academic year 2018/19 we’ll not admit students for the evening program in its current form”, said Kirumira.
Kirumira says that he has asked all deans to compile all outstanding evening teaching claims by staff so as to forward them to the university for payment.
According to Kirumira, there is need to rethink the evening program since it is not supported by support and administrative staff because most of them leave by 5:00pm.
“Sometimes when we look at the evening program, we look at the hour, the one hour and so we look at the physical lecturers who are teaching. But there have to be administrators who manage that program, there has to be cleaners in the evening.
So really when you look at the evening program, it is not supported by the support staff or the administrative staff. I have 395 staff, so everybody is affected because by either coordinators or lecturers, teachers per se or administrators or support staff. So I think we also need to rethink the who concept of workload,” he added.
CHUSS is the largest college at Makerere with five schools and close to 9000 students. The meeting came after lecturers in the School of Liberals and Performing Arts, School of Languages Literature and Communication, School of Gender and Women Studies and School of Psychology resolved to withdraw their services from the evening program citing failure by management to pay them extra load allowances.
They advised all students on the evening program to join the day time lectures. The university held a meeting with the lecturers and asked them to resume teaching and promised to clear their arrears by February 14.
Every lecturer at Makerere is expected to teach 10 hours each week. Due to under-funding by government, the university liberalised courses leading to the creation of more courses and introduction of evening courses in early 1990s.
The university resolved to pay lecturers allowances to teach on the evening program for the extra load. Lecturers would earn between Shs 30,000 and Shs 50,000 each hour.
Following the demands of staff for a pay rise in 2013 and subsequent closure of the university due to the lecturers strike, the University Council collapsed all the staff allowances into what was then referred to as an incentive paid to all staff per month.
However, the university failed to pay staff for eight months prompting them to lay down their tools again in 2016. The staff strike prompted students to strike forcing President Yoweri Museveni to close the university in his capacity as a visitor to public universities.
He appointed a Visitation Committee to study the causes of discontent among students and staff. The visitation committee recommended that the incentive allowance be abolished.