Makerere University is seeking Shs100b to renovate the dilapidated students’ halls of residence, which house more than 4,700 students on campus.
The university vice chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, yesterday said President Museveni directed the Ministry of Finance to avail funds for renovation of all halls of residence.
He said the university needs Shs100b to renovate all the 13 halls of residence at the main campus, Mulago and Kabanyoro training centres.
“There is a presidential directive on the matter, and the process can be phased. So far, the university has submitted quotations for Lumumba and Mary Stuart estimated at 16b for the two halls,” Prof Nawangwe said.
Prof Nawangwe met the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, at his office alongside the university top managers led by the chairperson of the University Council, Ms Lorna Magara.
Ms Magara said the renovation of the halls of residence is overdue.
She said this should be treated with urgency to ensure students’ stay at the institution is comfortable.
Other halls that are slated to be renovated include Africa, Complex, Dag, Livingstone, Mitchell, Nkrumah, Nsibirwa, University Hall, Mugyenyi, Galloway and Kabanyolo.
According to a January 11 letter from President Museveni, addressed to the Ministry of Finance, all halls of residence in all public universities must be renovated.
President Museveni directed the Finance ministry to urgently look for funds through supplementary budget to address this course.
Dilapidated halls of residence at Makerere have sparked strikes by students over the years.
The Minister of Education, Ms Janet Museveni, in 2020, was shocked by the state in which she found halls of residence at Makerere and Kyambogo universities when she made an abrupt visit to the institutions.
Review of food allowance
Prof Nawangwe also asked Parliament to review the food allowance for the government-sponsored students.
He said they have on several occasions asked Parliament to revise the money from the current Shs4,500 to 10,000 a day but all in vain.
Prof Nawangwe said the allowance were set several years ago, adding that it should be increased to match inflation.
Mr Tayebwa pledged to address the issue of food and living allowances of government sponsored students to match with the current economic crisis in the country.
“The Shs4,500 given to students for three meals a day is very little. I am going to look into this issue,” Mr Tayebwa said.
Meanwhile, Mr Tayebwa wondered why Makerere University, which is the top institution in the country, is producing less students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
Parliament has also been asked to consider establishment of a scholarship or loan scheme to support graduate training.
Prof Nawangwe stressed that the government stopped sponsoring graduate studies in the early 1980s and this has affected their strategy of increasing enrolment on graduate programmes.
Prof Nawangwe said graduate education has attracted few students because it is expensive, hence if they are sponsored or given loans, more research will be conducted in the country and this can lead to development.
Currently, government is sponsoring only undergraduate students in all public universities. Loans are also given only to undergraduate students, a move that has been protested by graduate students.
Parliament to honour Makerere @100
At the same event, Mr Tayebwa revealed that a special motion will be moved to celebrate Makerere University’s 100th anniversary as one of the ways to appreciate the contribution of the institution to the development of the country.
Mr Tayebwa said Parliament will move a motion on October 5, the eve of the century main celebrations, instructing the government chief whip to coordinate the teams that will move the motion and second it.
Government Chief Whip Denis Obua said Parliament has a number of MPs who are former Makerere University guild presidents and these should be in position to move and second the motion better.
He said these should be able to share their journey and leadership experience while at Makerere.
Makerere kick-started the century celebrations last year with the climax expected on October 6 at the university’s main campus in Kampala.