19 January 2013

Uganda: Suspended Mulago Paramedical Students Could Miss Exams

Hundreds of students at Uganda Institute of Allied Health and Management at Mulago referral hospital in Kampala could miss all their end of semester exams due to suspension for participating in last year's strike over poor living conditions.

According to sources at Mulago Paramedical School, authorities suspended over 200 students suspected to have participated in the November 19 strike.

The strike saw the furious students hoisting placards reading, 'We are tired of poor living conditions, we deserve better'.

The school was subsequently closed for nearly two months until Monday last week.

However, the guild speaker of the school, Elisa Kifamulusi told New Vision that many of the students who were suspended were being sent back home upon the school's reopening.

"Most of the victims are final year students who were told to go home until further notice pending a recall message from the school's authorities," a furious Kifamulusi reiterated.

"Upon reporting, students are being sent back home without any suspension letter and any clear reason yet business at school continues normally."

Could miss out

New Vision has learnt that the school is currently giving progressive tests in the absence of the suspended students. The school's policy dictates that for a student to sit for the end of semester exams, he or she must have done these tests.

It means all the suspended students could miss all their end of semester exams slated for February 4.

According to the institution's law, a continuing student gets a retake for exams missed, and a finalist gets an additional year.

The suspended students have angrily decried the move vowing to overturn it by expediting all avenues at their disposal.

"We have tried so many times to engage the administration in dialogue aimed at harmonizing our interests but in vain. Nonetheless, we shall continue pushing for our rights," said the student speaker.

The affected students, led by their leaders, on Tuesday went on strike protesting the suspensions and urged the school authorities to rescind the decision.

The one-hour strike was however short-lived as police swung into action and foiled it, calling on the irate students to seek redress to their grievances diplomatically.

The Deputy Principal Alfred Otim nonetheless allayed fears of the students that their prospects of sitting exams were at stake.

He said the matter is presently under the governing council pending judgment.

Otim castigated the guild president Moses Isamati and his peers for their impatience and being bent on tarnishing the image of the institution.

Attempts by police to engage the guild members and the administration in a dialogue were fruitless as the Principal stormed out of the room saying he was answerable to government, and not to the students.

New Vision could not establish if the suspensions were indefinite since the council is yet to make a ruling on the matter.

The students further accuse the institute's authorities of making a U-turn on a promise to improve their living conditions made late last year and instead suspended students.

The students had complained of congestion in some rooms in the halls of residence. Some said there are rooms accommodating eight students instead of the recommended two.

They also accuse management of charging them sh90,000 for library fees yet there are not enough books in the resource centre. Other grievances included poor hygiene and bad meals.

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