Hundreds of students at Kyambogo University may not graduate this month, after reports emerged that they were awarded dubious marks.
The university is currently investigating the award of marks, days to the December 20-21 graduation ceremonies. Although Kyambogo University Spokesperson Lawrence Madete initially told The Observer last week that the graduation would go on as scheduled, The Observer can reveal that not all is well.
The investigation that stumbled on this scandal started with a probe into allegations that 13 students had been wrongly awarded marks by Dr Ali Baguwemu, a lecturer in the department of Psychology. On November 9, 2012, the university senate found that Baguwemu awarded marks to students who had either withdrawn from the programme or were absent in all other course units.
They got marks for Baguwemu's paper, PS323: Guidance and Counselling for their third year, second semester. This particular examination was done on May 19, 2012. Although these students had marks for this paper, the exam attendance list showed they were absent for the examination.
The probe found the problem stretched to the faculties of Science, Arts and Social Sciences and the school of Management and Entrepreneurship. The Observer has seen a letter, dated November 29, 2012, from the office of the dean of the faculty of Education to the Academic Registrar, indicating that more than 1,000 students could be affected.
"We look forward to more advice from senate as the matter could easily involve more than 1,000 students who completed their studies in June and are awaiting graduation in December 2012," wrote Dr J. Kaheeru-Katigo, the acting Education dean.
Kaheeru added: "Since the last meeting of the senate on November 26, 2012, the dean of faculty of Science has also submitted more names of students whom the department of Psychology is still investigating."
Separately, the school of Management and Entrepreneurship has been investigating the authenticity of the marks awarded to students in the controversial paper.
Two lecturers, Dr Regis Zombeire and Freddie Ntege, who probed the matter, unearthed more anomalies in their December 3, 2012 report. These ranged from wrong computation of marks for some students (four students) to a student who was given marks but whose examination script and coursework couldn't be traced. Nine students, whose scripts couldn't be accounted for, had full marks. And four others had their registration numbers interchanged.
Initial investigations indicated Dr Ali Baguwemu had awarded marks to 13 students who had left the programme. The Observer has seen a memo dated November 20, 2012 by Santo S. Auma-Okumu, the acting head of the Psychology department, asking Dr Baguwemu to urgently avail information including actual scripts of some students who allegedly sat for PS 323.
"It has emerged that these candidates never presented themselves for the paper yet you went ahead and awarded them marks. This is a very serious matter which plunges the image of the department, the faculty of Education and the university in a (quagmire) of problems."
Okumu directed Baguwemu to hand over all the answer envelopes containing booklets for PS 323 and marking guides.
"Any failure to abide by this request may lead to reporting to the security department and the OC Police, Kyambogo University to assist in retrieving the envelopes from wherever they are being kept."
On December 4, 2012 Dr Baguwemu wrote to the academic registrar, saying he lost the two envelopes containing 100 scripts when his car was broken into.
"Owing to the sensitivity of the issue, I had kept this as top secret. However , I had confided in a few of my colleagues in the department and I have informally done the same with you since the start of the investigation."
Another letter, dated November 18, 2012 by Cyprian Ben Apuda, the dean of faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, to Okumu affirms that Baguwemu 'marked', 'graded' and submitted the results to the faculty.
Apuda lists 14 students with questionable marks. The list shows the students got between 60% and 69% in this controversial examination. Most of the students had no marks for any other subject except PS 323. Others had either no marks or partial marks for the previous semester and had no marks at all for the second semester except PS323.
The memo indicates that university records show that seven of the students who had been given marks had withdrawn from the course.
Under - fire lecturer speaks
Dr Baguwemu wrote to the Academic Registrar on December 4 and said, "It's not true that the couse: in reference was not marked. The fact is that the course was dully examined by both coursework and examination, and marks recorded. The marked scripts that I submitted to your office following your directive are a proof of this fact."
On claims that he had given marks to students who had withdrawn from the course, he said: "It was indeed true that a number of students who had not attended the course examination had mistakenly been awarded marks."
"I profoundly regret the error and sincerely apologise to the management of the university."
He says the error could have arisen as he entered student results from the course. Baguwemu says he used a student list from the previous semester for PS 311 (Research Methods) which he also teaches.
"Most likely during the process of entering the marks [copying and pasting] the students who were not meant to receive marks and should have been deleted ended up also getting results. I have now identified the students' names and deleted them from the list with me."
Baguwemu also reveals that in the reexamination of the scripts, it was established that 13 students had one number (question five) not marked.
"This again was brought to my attention and I dully marked those scripts. The results of affected candidates' have been recorded."