7 January 2013

Uganda: Kampala University Faces Scrutiny

Photo: Th Monitor
KIU opens Sh11 Billion facility in Bukoto (file photo): Lecturers in the university's branch in Dar es Salaam have refused to release test results for students.

AS the school calendar starts, students at Kampala International University (KIU) Dar es Salaam campus are unlikely to go back in class and continue with a crash programme aimed at covering course work missed between mid November and December.

This is because most teaching staff have downed tools. A 'Daily News' survey at the crisis ridden university owned by a Ugandan businessman, Hassan Bassajjabalaba, found the campus empty.

However, there were announcements from the university administration and students government assuring students of class commencement on schedule.

"All students should make sure that they have completed payment of their fees before January 7, 2013," read part of an announcement from the school administration dated December 20, 2012.

The administration which has sacked 40 members of staff including teaching staff, also suspended 13 students who it alleged masterminded perennial strikes at the Gongo la Mboto based institution.

Last November, Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) Executive Secretary, Professor Sifuni Mchome and an acting Director of Higher Education at Ministry of Education and Vocational Training visited KIU administration.

They ordered them to submit a report by end of December (last year) on a number of weak areas the team had determined. "By December 31, 2012 they had not submitted the report to us but I heard that their delegation visited our director today (Friday) and I don't know if they brought the report," said Prof. Mchome.

While warning the KIU administration against complacency, Prof. Mchome doubted recent press reports which quoted the university as having recruited 150 local employees including academic staff since last December to meet one of TCU's demands which required recruitment of qualified academic staff members.

"I don't think it is possible to find such a big number of teachers in the country for such a short period of time," the TCU Executive Secretary argued. He said TCU will use KIU's submitted report to verify what is actually available on the ground. He warned that if reports that the university recruited some under-qualified academic staff members are true then they will have to do some explanation.

Established in 2005 by the Universities Act, TCU is mandated to conduct periodic evaluation of universities, their systems and programmes so as to oversee quality assurance systems at such universities and in the process leading to new institutions to be registered to operate in Tanzania.

But KIU's arrogant administration is also facing court action after sacking 40 employees who are members of Research, Academic and Allied Workers' Union (RAAWU). RAAWU Eastern Zonal Secretary, Joseph Sayo told 'Daily News' during the last week of December that a case to dispute the sacking of their members was due to be filed after the end of year break.

"We will contest this sacking in court because it has happened a few days after we successfully opened a branch office and recruited members at KIU," Mr Sayo said. But in a statement last week, KIU's administration said the sacked staff members did not have qualifications as required by TCU. The university has over 100 members of teaching staff with over 4,000 students.

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