26 January 2013

Tanzania: KIU - We Are Cleaning Our House

AFTER days and months of stand-off between students and the administration at Kampala International University (KIU), Dar es Salaam Campus, the higher learning institution now says is embarking on an elaborate conflict-resolve approach.

Prof Kabir Haruna Danja, the Assistant to the KIU Principal, told the 'Daily News on Saturday' that all burning issues would be jointly resolved by students' representatives and the administration.

He promised improvement of the learning environment for academic excellence, saying that would be their priority while unnecessary frictions would be avoided as directed by the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU).

"I understand that some of the examination and coursework results had been retained by the suspended lecturers. That has been resolved and should not be allowed to interrupt the teaching programme," Prof Danja affirmed, adding: "All unmarked test papers must be graded accordingly and if necessary new exams should be prepared to 'fill the gap' for the students to move ahead with other planned courses."

He denied any fabrication of examination results as previously alleged, insisting that lecturers have volunteered their ample time to compensate the lost classes, even if it means teaching at night, provided the students were comfortable with the arrangement.

Since October, last year, strikes and class boycott crippled KIU activities as students took to the streets, issuing a set of demands, including university prospectus, well equipped library, internet services and also queried what they termed cumbersome supplementary examination system.

The students had also complained of not being represented in decision-making bodies and wanted to know why graduation ceremonies were held in Kampala, Uganda. Tuition fee pegged in US Dollar and questionable ability of some of the lecturers were some of their grievances.

Towards the end of last year, TCU issued directives to the institution to verify the accreditation of its lecturers and submit a report before December 31st. "The submission should be attached with the qualifications of all lecturers," reads part of the official letter signed by the TCU Executive Secretary, Prof Sifuni Mchome.

Commenting, Elizabeth Bryceson, a second-year international relations student admitted to have been attending 'wonderful' lectures since the beginning of this month. An interviewed parent, Othman Rashid said that KIU stood a good chance to excel in academic performance if the administration would chart strategies to address challenges before circumstances degenerated into serious disagreements.

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