A university probe team assigned to investigate the matter found Dr. Kanakulya in breach of the university rules, regulations and procedures. The team has recommended that Dr. Kanakulya be referred to the university Appointments Board for Disciplinary Action.
Dr. Kanakulya Dickson (in set) a Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Makerere University.
Dr. Dickson Kanakulya,
a lecturer of Philosophy and Human Rights in the College of Humanities and
Social Sciences at Makerere University is under fire for assigning a student to
teach his colleagues for entire month. At least more than 200 students due for
graduation next year are affected.
A university probe team
assigned to investigate the matter found Dr. Kanakulya in breach
of the university rules, regulations and procedures. The team has recommended
that Dr. Kanakulya be referred to the university Appointments Board for
all started after Dr. Patrick Mangeni Wa'Ndeda,
the Dean of School of Liberals and Performing Arts received a petition from three
students on the Day program of Bachelor of Ethics and Human Rights on April 25th,
2019. The students complained on the teaching and assessment of EHR31012 , a course unit
taught during Semester one of the 2018/2019 academic year.
In their petition, a copy of which URN has seen, students
raised concerns regarding the management of the course unit and the conduct of
the lecturer towards their complaints. Subsequently, the school’s heads of department meeting held
on June 17, 2019, decided to constitute a committee to investigate the matter
to find a solution to the student’s complaints and other related issues.
The committee that was constituted on June 19th,
2019 was required to conclude its investigations by July 7th 2019. The probe
team was tasked to establish whether the concerned lecturer under taught and to
what extent, whether he breached examination and course rules, as well as
ascertaining whether the lecturer displaced himself with his undergraduate
student in respect of lecturing.
The probe team was led by Associate Prof. Julius Kikooma and
Dr. Florence Nansubuga, both from the School of Psychology. The others members
were Associate Professor Paul Omach from School of Social Sciences, Dr. Florence
Kyoheirwe Muhanguzi from the School of Women and Gender Studies, Esther Kabinga,
a legal officer with the Legal directorate in the university and Vincent
Ekwang, the College Registrar.
During the investigations, the probe team studied documents
provided by the office of the Dean of School of Liberal and Performing Arts,
interviews about the complaints and listened to testimonies of the witnesses
who were mentioned in the various documents as well as Dr. Dickson Kanakulya,
who was assigned to teach the course.
William Ssekannyo, one of the affected students, says he has just completed the
Bachelor of Ethics and Human Rights course on Day program. According to
Ssekannyo, the teaching was not uniform with that of the evening class. He disclosed to the probe team that
Dr. Kanakulya came to lecture not more than five times for the day class in the
entire semester. “Instead he would send an evening student, Ms. Irene
Nakibirige to lecture,” Ssekannyo disclosed.
He disclosed that Nakibirige taught them very many times because as the day
class, they went over a month without the lecturer coming. He also told the
probe that they never had a course outline for the said course unit. Prossy Bameka, another student on the day program testified that they were not
taught but the lecturer sent a student to teach them. “Irene [the
student] taught us for about two (2) weeks, twice every week and I attended
lecturers about ten times the whole semester,” Bameka disclosed.
According to her, students in her program were asked to pay Shillings.5000 each
to attend and watch a compulsory documentary. “The money was collected by
external people who had organised the movie. However, some students never
watched the movie because they never had the money for example Ntono Victoria didn’t
watch,” she said. Bameka further discloses that the lecturer generally was not available for
students. “We went on a trip to Jinja and Mukono and paid Shilling 40,000 for
the trip but he just took us to eat and dance,” she disclosed.
Robert Mutebi, another student disclosed that the course was taught by Dr.
Kanakulya together with an evening student, Irene Nakibirige who came to teach
them during the sessions in Livingstone Hall. The students say the
lecturer only gave them one test towards the end of semester yet the course
work results sheet displayed on the noticeboard possessed three columns for
They say the basis for awarding marks was not certain since they were not
adequately taught. “I wonder where other marks came from,” Mutebi disclosed to
the probe committee. Adding that, “There was a student
who was caught cheating in the test but she had even higher marks when the
results came. When the invigilator caught her, her script was torn. A number of
students witnessed this incident.”
Students also say during the end of semester examinations, answer booklets were
provided and Section A was structured and students were required to write their
names and registration numbers. But for section B, the students were only asked
to write their students numbers, which was surprising.
Pius Tenywa, an evening student of Bachelor of Ethics and Human Rights, says he
was contacted one early morning by a classmate Angella Tendo and informing him
Dr. Kanakulya wanted somebody to teach the day class. Tenywa, who is awaiting his graduation, next year, said he attended a few of
Dr. Kanakulya’s lectures and missed others due to personal reasons. He told the
probe committee that he was the first to be called for the teaching offer but
declined since he didn’t think he was ready.
“I suggested another student, Irene Nakibirige because she had the confidence.
I am not sure if Irene was given transport money but she taught for about three
weeks,” Tenywa told the probe committee. Tenywa told the probe team that he also believed that some students in their
class were being favored by the lecturer. “One time I needed to see Dr.
Kanakulya and Angella Tendo volunteered to take me because she said they were
There is also Anyango Patience who never sat for the test but she had
the marks. I also heard that Anyango was caught cheating during their
coursework test. She could not have done a special test so where did she get
the marks from?” Tenywa wondered. Tenywa implored the university top management to investigate Dr. Kanakulya on
matters of teaching, assessment and awarding marks in critical thinking as well
as the head of Department for threatening students for raising complaints
against the lecturer.
He alleged that the Head of Department [Dr. Kasozi] called a meeting with the
students subsequent to their complaints and threatened them. According to this student, Dr. Kasozi said “we need to nullify what we wrote
and need to know that we are students.” He observes that Innocent Byegarazo and
others who signed the letter distancing themselves from the first petition is
friends with Dr. Kanakulya.
He said they received threats from
the lecturer and the head of department that they wouldn’t graduate if they
didn’t nullify the first letter.
Nakibirige Confesses Having Taught Colleagues
Irene Nakibirige was invited to testify in the matter since she is at the
center of the investigations. She said although she could not verify some of
the complaints against the lecturer were true. She told the probe one Monday morning at about 7:00am, she received a phone
call from a classmate called Tendo Angella who informed her she had just called
about two evening students including Tenywa Pius and Innocent Byagarazo who had
She reportedly said Dr. Kanakulya
had requested her to look for someone among the evening class to help teach the
day class Critical Thinking. “At first I rejected the request because I
was afraid as I wasn’t prepared but later, I accepted since I was helping my
fellow students,” Nakibirige disclosed.
The evening class was ahead of the day class by about four topics. The student
thought this as a good chance to interact with fellow students and would be
benefiting through the class discussions. “I prepared myself that morning
and about 9:00am went to Livingstone Hall and taught the students,” she said.
All this happened the first
semester of the academic year 2018/2019 between August and December. The
student confessed having used her class notes and personal research especially
from internet [Google] to teach the day class. A few days after the first lecture, Dr. Kanakulya is said to have called her
thanking her for helping him. The lecturer allegedly asked if there was
anything he could do or give her to repay her, but she refused, saying she had
taught in good faith.
She would later lecture a few more times about four double shift lectures in
total, for about a month. Nakibirige says she never met the lecturer to discuss
any reward but was shocked by the 10 marks she got in her coursework. The student claimed she was very active in class but was not sure how she
scored the mark as students have never received feedback about their
performance. She says students have no idea how the coursework was assessed.
“I discussed my discontentment of my Critical Thinking marks with a lecturer
Dr. Lajul who advised me to appeal if I was not contented. I was helping the
lecturer to teach day class and I don’t know how I scored low marks yet the
lecturer trusted me enough to teach,” Nakibirige.
Head of Department Speaks Out
Dr. Kasozi F. Mutaawe, the head of Philosophy Department discloses that during the
academic year in question, Dr. Kanakulya was the most suitable person to teach
the course since Dr. John Barugahare was on study leave. He told the probe committee that the head of department always monitors teaching
in the department both formal and informally and that he achieves this through
interacting with the lecturers.
He disclosed that he had never received any complaints from the students
regarding Critical Thinking EHR3102 during the semester. However, he says
there were complaints in semester 2 in April 2019, yet this was a semester one
paper. He says he convened a meeting with
students at first when they attempted an industrial action.
He informed the committee that in the examination of Critical Thinking,
students were required to write their names on the answer sheet, which he said
was a practice in the department. According to the audit report, “The head of Department expressed disappointment
with the establishment of the committee. If he had the powers, he would have
disbanded the committee.”
To Dr. Kasozi, the establishment of the committee was a sign of
anti-intellectualism and hatred for academics. “He initially objected to
the formation of the committee as considered it unfair to the teaching staff.
‘Should they investigate students who miss lectures?’ he wondered,” reads in
part the report.
Dr. Kasozi allegedly told the probe committee that the department should have
been allowed to solve the problem internally other than being hijacked especially
for students who do not want to learn. According to the report, the head
of department had heard about a student who conducted lectures for Dr.
Kanakulya during the first meeting with the students but noted students had not
complained to him.
“I come from a very good academic
background. I would not have allowed it. I have a personal relationship with my
teachers, there is none of them that I fear even those who have been there
longer than me, so to get a complaint from a student and letting the lecturer
know about it has not been my problem,” Dr. Kasozi told the probe team. He also disclosed that there were no field trips regarding the critical
thinking course citing that he only heard about it when it had happened.
Kanakulya Defends self
The lecture told the committee that since the course had initial problems, he
decided to change the teaching approach to experimental learning, which he
thought would work. He says the course was similar to logic, which is mathematical and required
students with a background of mathematics. He says he applied group work
According to Kanakulya, he couldn’t share a course outline with the students
since he was still developing it before releasing it. The probe report notes
that the lecturer didn’t roll call nor provide attendance lists where students
would write their names.
He told the committee that he never
recorded attendance because only half of the students would attend.
further disclosed that he only missed three weeks when the class had challenges
of lecture rooms. According to Kanakulya, he taught the course alone and only
gave students practical work through peer learning, which was conducted by
identifying students who showed more interest in the course.
He denied allegations of having sent a student from the evening programme to
deliver lectures on his behalf to the day class. The lecturer also told
the probe committee that he was not aware of any student who was caught
cheating and her paper torn in the test and that course work results were
displayed by the head of department. He also refuted claims that he
favored some students.
The probe committee that the lecturers hadn’t taught more than five lectures to
the day class for the entire semester. The committee discovered that the
number of lecture time given to students on the Day Programme was far below the
recommended 45 lecture hours required under the semester system.
On coursework assessment, students
who interacted with the committee raised concern about the basis on which, the
concerned lecturer made coursework assessment and awarded marks to students. The
probe found the lecturer in breach of university academic rules provided for
under the 5th Edition of the Prospectus 2007/2010.
“Given that no course outline was
provided, the plan for coursework assignments/ tests was supposed to be
administered for the final grading of the course. This was a breach of the
General Academic/ Examination Regulations No. 1.0 on Course Work Assignments,” read
the probe findings.
The probe committee also established that the concerned staff supplied
examination question paper, which also served as answer booklet for section A
of the examination in which students were required to write their names on the
question/ answer booklet in contravention of examination rules that clearly
state “Do not write your name anywhere in the answer booklet hence only your
student’s number and Registration number should be written on the answer book.”
The committee noted that subjecting students to the same examination for which
they didn’t receive similar content and instruction was unfair. The committee
had also a burden to ascertain whether the concerned member of staff displaced
himself with his undergraduate students in respect of lecturing.
The report notes that all the
students the committee interacted with confirmed that Ms. Irene Nakibirige, an
undergraduate student from the Evening Programme (EHR3102:
Critical Thinking) delivered lectures to the day class. Nakibirige also
testified having taught for about one month and that she was sent by the