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How Quinn Abenakyo Graduated From Makerere University

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On August 20, 2018, Abenakyo wrote to Prof. Wasswa Balunywa, the Principal Makerere University Business School - MUBS requesting to defer her retake in the Financial Management course unit that was scheduled for September 1, 2018.
07 Feb 2019 11:42
Miss World Africa 2018, Quinn Abenakyo, whose graduation from Makerere has been contested

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The just concluded 69th graduation at Makerere University saw the graduation of Miss World Africa 2018, Quinn Abenakyo, whose graduation has been contested. Miss World Africa 2018, Quinn Abenakyo was one the graduates during the 69th graduation ceremony of Makerere University last month. Abenakyo graduated with a second class upper Bachelor's degree in Business Computing.

Abenakyo couldn't hide her excitement at her achievement in an interview with Uganda Radio Network at Makerere University on January 17th, 2019.

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She was also awarded by Makerere University for her achievement and carrying the university flag high. However, URN has since established from sources in the office of Makerere University Academic Registrar that Abenakyo didn't fulfill the requirements for the graduation.

Background

On August 20, 2018, Abenakyo wrote to Prof. Wasswa Balunywa, the Principal Makerere University Business School - MUBS requesting to defer her retake in the "Financial Management" course unit that was scheduled for September 1, 2018.

"I had a retake in Financial Management in my second year and I couldn't do it in my third year because the regulations couldn't let me take it. We were later informed that we would take it in our third year examinations during recess semester,” reads her email to Prof. Balunywa.

Abenakyo couldn't make it because she had to travel to US for the Miss World contest 2018. "…I am requesting to do this paper when I return from the Miss World competition. I expect this will end by end of December and I would wish to graduate with the rest of my colleagues in January. I request that am given an opportunity to retake this paper when I return," Abenakyo said in her letter.

She wrote another letter to Prof. Balunywa on January 02, 2019 upon her victorious return to the country detailing her performance in the competition and requested to sit her retake to pave way for her graduation.  On January 8, 2019, , Prof Balunywa wrote to Makerere Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe requesting permission to allow Abenakyo sit a "Special Examination" to allow her graduate with her colleagues. 

"We would like to support this student to graduate so that she can be able to move on with her career plan. We would like to give her a special examination so that we are able to mark it and submit her results after deciding on her final results. If permission is granted, we hope that she can sit the examination this Saturday, January 12, 2019," Prof. Balunywa states in his letter.

Adding that, “Ms Abenakyo took a decision to participate in the Miss World beauty contest and the country has been proud of her achievement. Allowing her to sit this examination would be a contribution of the institution in enabling her to pursue her career."

The office of the Vice Chancellor acknowledged receipt of Prof. Balunywa's letter on January 10, 2019 and sent it to the Academic Registrar with a comment, "AR, Please Handle (10/1/19)."  This was four days to the graduation ceremony.

The Office of the Academic Registrar acknowledged receipt of the letter on January 17, 2019, a day before 3,644 students from MUBS graduated with Bachelors, Masters and Doctor of Philosophy degrees and PhDs.

On January 18th, the last day of graduation, Makerere University Academic Registrar, Alfred Masikye Namoah noted on the letter that Abenakyo had graduated. "She graduated. Please record it in Grad Book [Graduation Book]," he wrote on the letter.

Some social media activists took to social media to query Abenakyo's graduation. As a result, Makerere VC Prof. Nawangwe took to tweeter on January 25th, 2019 to defend the beauty queen. "Quinn graduated legally after completing all requirements. The record is available,” he tweeted.

Prof Balunywa has also defended Abenakyo's graduation, saying it is worthwhile that the institution supports her to complete her degree for having “made the country proud in the beauty contest”.

“If this beauty queen was found to be wanting in academics, in fact negative press, which was expected would have been worse if she hadn't graduated,” Prof. Balunywa said. He also says they offered to assist her because of her earlier request that she be granted the opportunity to do the retake.

“In our view allowing Ms. Abenakyo to sit the exam was preferable than not doing as this would bring the country more shame. So it is true that Ms. Abenakyo had a retake, was granted permission to sit the paper and was examined so as to enable her graduate,” Balunywa observes.

He attributes the outbursts about Abenakyo and her education to the current crisis in Makerere University. “It is unfortunate that some people are seeking to destroy that influence. Ugandans should agree that Abenakyo should be an asset to the country to support positive change in the community especially among young girls and the youth,” Balunywa said.

Retake Guidelines

Section 23 of the Makerere Academic Policy titled; Guidelines operations of the Semester/Credit Unit System undergraduate programmes," provides that "A student shall retake a Course or Courses when next offered again in order to obtain at least the Pass Mark (50%) if he/she had failed during the First Assessment in the Course or Courses."

It further provides that while retaking a Course or Courses, a student shall; "Attend all the prescribed lectures/ tutorials/Clinicals/Practicals/Fieldwork in the Course or Courses; Satisfy all the requirements for the Coursework Component in the Course or Courses; and Sit for the University Examinations in the Course or Courses."

Section 27.2 of the same regulations provides for "Deferred examination" where it states that; "A student who provides credible reason for failure to complete coursework assessment or to attend an examination may be permitted to 'sit' the deferred examination or coursework assignment when the course(s) is being offered again." 

It further states that; "A deferred exam shall not be approved if a student has not been in regular attendance where attendance and/or participation are required, and/or, excluding the final exam has completed less than half of the assigned work."

David Musiri, a student at Makerere University has already petitioned the Director of the Criminal Investigations Directorate to Investigate the Vice Chancellor over Abenakyo's graduation.

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