13 September 2017

Uganda: Makerere's Move to Recall Degrees Timely

Photo: Daily Monitor
Graduates at Makerere University in February.

The move by Makerere University to investigate the genuineness of both marks and class of degrees issued from 2011 with a view to recalling those illegally awarded is commendable. Indeed, the comprehensive audit of the authenticity of marks and class of degree awarded across colleges and schools for the past five to 10 years is a step in the right direction.

The widespread problem of cheating during exams, forgery of marks, and even fiddling with the class of degrees have combined to drag in the mud the image of the once Great and Mighty Makerere as acclaimed in its anthem. These and disgraceful spates of cheatings shame not only the current crop of students and academics, but also all the alumni who have gone through the gates of the university.

Despite these ills of forged marks, transcripts and other afflictions, Makerere has soldiered on and has retained its unrivalled status as a centre of excellence in East and Central Africa.

This has largely been because of its age-old reputation. It is this vestige of its old self that must be salvaged, nurtured, and lifted up again. And this current investigation can do exactly that. This is why Vice Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe should go deeper in this search for the truth.

There are already enough grounds for such drastic action to be undertaken to weed out these sickening unscholarly habits and spruce up the image of the country's pioneer, largest and premier university. This inquiry should send a ringing warning that such academic dishonesty, including the distasteful sex for marks, which have become part of the university system, won't go unpunished.

The affected students, including ministers, MPs, and so-called high-flying professionals, should know that Makerere degrees are not got on the cheap. They should be punished and their degrees revoked should they be found to have cheated their way to the awards.

Let this probe restore the pride of current students, academics, and alumni and give them the joy and hope they once had in Makerere University.

As one of its stanzas surmises, let this probe make Makerere once more arise, rise up and rise, high up and high as we build for the future.


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