Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Umaru Kakumba says that the university conducted a survey to establish the readiness of the students. He says that 75 percent of the students indicated that they were ready to resume teaching and learning utilizing the open distance and e-learning
Makerere University and Uganda Christian University have defended
the online learning program.
In a recent petition to Parliament, student leaders from Makerere University,
Uganda Christian University (UCU), Kyambogo University and Uganda Martyrs’ University
demanded that online learning should be suspended. They argued that the program is discriminatory
and inefficient especially to medical students whose curriculum requires 85%
physical interaction between lecturers and students.
The leaders argue that internet coverage in some parts of the country
is poor making it difficult for some students to study online.
In March 2020, all education institutions were closed by President Yoweri
Museveni as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19. Last month, they
were allowed to reopen for only final students on condition they adhere to the
covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures- SOPs.
Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Umaru
Kakumba says that President Yoweri Museveni guided that tertiary institutions
should adopt distance learning as a way of continuing to manage challenges
posed by Covid-19.
He noted that in line with the President’s guidance, the National Council for
Higher Education (NCHE) provided them guidelines and that those who were ready
could be inspected and given opportunity to run the open distance and
According to Kakumba, the university conducted a survey to establish the
readiness of the students. He says that 75 percent of the students indicated
that they were ready to resume teaching and learning utilizing the open
distance and e-learning.
He further indicated that the remaining 25 percent students indicated that they
were not ready due to lack of laptops and also data bundles.
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He added that university management also negotiated with telecom companies
including Africell and MTN provided zero rating to the University Website in
regard to access to academic material. He also explains that they negotiated
with different companies to see a possibility of getting affordable laptops and
other educational equipment that can be accessed at hire purchase.
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He also noted that students who will not be able to complete their
studies during the Covid-19 pandemic will be allowed to complete later without
facing any sanctions.
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Dr Aaron Mushengyezi, Uganda Christian University’s Vice Chancellor says that
suspending online learning would be a disaster for private universities
especially because it will easily send them into bankruptcy since they mainly
rely on tuition.
He says that it would be unfortunate to halt the online learning and suggested
that the students should only help to improve the system going forward in case
of any challenges.
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According to Mushengyezi, their e-learning platform has been tested and proved
to be efficient, noting that they were able to interview and test their 870
Bachelor of Law applicants, 250 applicants on the Bachelor of Medicine and
Surgery as well as 20 applicants for the Dental program.
Mushengyezi noted that they complied with the NCHE requirements as well as the
physical spacing requirement for teaching finalists. He however said that
students who are not able to enroll on the University’s e-learning platform
will not be penalized and that those not able to do examinations online will be
allowed to withdraw and write them at a later stage.
He said that 95 percent of the students have laptops and that those without
will be catered for under an arrangement with the suppliers.
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He noted that the university staff has been trained in e-learning measures and
that it is important to allow them resume work after many months of sitting at
home without any livelihood.