The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Victoria University Students Petition MPs

Students of Victoria University (VU) have asked Parliament to intervene in the recent abrupt closure of their university, after many were left hanging, half way into their programmes.

The students, led by Derrick Hosea Opio, want Parliament to compel the university to reconsider its decision.

"The university management should have given us at least three to six months, notice or waited for us to graduate since we were to be the first graduates," they say in their nine-page petition.

The closure early this month followed a decision by the UK's University of Buckingham to suspend its accreditation to Victoria University over discontent with the anti-homosexuality bill, now before Parliament. VU acting Vice Chancellor Dr David Young declined to comment on the student's move.

"The situation in which VU and Buckingham find themselves has been described very clearly in numerous meetings to students and parents. I have no comment..." he said in a terse email.

Victoria University had 322 students and of these, 215 had their degree programmes accredited by Buckingham University. Victoria University has proposed four institutions as alternatives for the affected students to complete their studies. These are Middlesex University Dubai, Buckingham University UK, an unnamed university in Uganda and an institute yet to be opened in Kenya.

However, when some of the students complained that the changes would result in increased costs such as visa and flight charges, VU balked. Young says the planned establishment of an institution in Nairobi is "just one of four options offered." He also insists that flight and visa costs are the responsibility of students.

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