THE student-staff unrest at the Dar es Salaam Campus of the Kampala International University (KIU) took a new twist yesterday as students took to the streets, pressing the administration to immediately reinstate lecturers who boycotted classes for the last two weeks.
Delayed salaries for the academic staff (October and November) seem to have triggered the chain of events that has also disrupted the normal tutorial routine. Students, parents, lecturers and the university's administration interviewed each had own version on possible solution to problems the institution faced.
The students have expressed concern on the delay to resolve the stand-off, which has denied them their right to receive education. Clarifying on delayed salaries, the university's Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Ms Nassara Nzwalla, said it was true that the November salary was yet to be paid due to some financial hitches and that the matter had been communicated to all the staff.
"The notice issued indicates that the November salary would be ready by December 20 while that of December will be paid on January 20 next year. "There is no malice in this; only that the cash has not been there at the right moment," Ms Nzwalla explained.
Students Raymond Kosyanga and Zubeda Hemed told the 'Daily News on Saturday' that they wanted the administration to be explicit on compensation for lost lectures, which has affected the learning process and the examination status as well.
Responding to the query, Ms Nzwalla, herself a student at the university, assured her colleagues that all academic procedures, including lectures, will be covered and examinations set according to topics covered. "Students are at liberty to have dialogue with lecturers.
There is no 'gap' between the two sides. Students can discuss with their professors regarding areas of examination and if not satisfied, they can continue discussing to reach a consensus," she explained.
Lecturers who spoke to the 'Daily News on Saturday' on Thursday alleged that apart from going hungry for a long time, new faces (staff) have been seen possibly without a work permit.
They claimed that the arrival of the new recruits was basically meant to replace some of the 'unwanted' lecturers whose letters of transfer to Nairobi Campus and the main Kampala Campus, just to frustrate them, have been prepared.
"New faces talked about are eight visiting professors from the main Kampala Campus who are here to give support to the Post Graduate Department currently in need of support to alleviate teaching. They will go back to Kampala and this is a normal academic routine whenever need arises," Nassara explained.
Asked to clarify on the arrival of the new teaching staff at KIU and comment on the subject of work permit among East African member states, the spokesperson for the Immigration Department in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr Abbas Irovya, said the matter might not be as serious as some people would expect it to be.
"The Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Community (EAC) Common Market that Tanzania ratified and came to force on July I, 2010, provides for "Four Freedoms", namely the free movement of goods, labour, services and capital, with the intention to boost trade and investments and make the region more productive and prosperous," Mr Irovya explained.
He added: "It is true that people's movements in the region are monitored. Permits are issued at the border or entry posts. My office is not aware of the arrival of dozens of lecturers at KIU but officials will make a follow-up to the allegations," Mr Irovya explained One of the parents, Mr Issa Kwajuko, who was seen at the college in the company of his daughter, questioned the legality for repeated disruption of classes despite the colossal amount of cash paid as tuition fees.
He also demanded explanation for delayed issuance of certificates to students who graduated in past years. "It is upsetting that students are subjected to a timid atmosphere. I did not expect this to happen when I enrolled my daughter in this university.
Worse still, graduation ceremonies are always held in Kampala at the expense of parents," said Mr Kwajuko. At the moment, the graduation ceremonies for students from all campuses are held in Kampala to minimize costs. However, this is also bound to change as the Dar es Salaam campus continues to 'grow'," she said.