Professor John Ssenyonyi, the outgoing vice-chancellor of Uganda Christian University notes that unless they receive significant government support, they might fail to reopen given the immense financial impact of the Coronavirus shutdown. He was speaking in his capacity as the chairman of the Vice-Chancellors’ Forum.
Private universities are
requesting the government to avail them with a fiscal stimulus to enable them
re-open their gates to final year students.
Early this week, President Yoweri
Museveni relaxed on the lockdown guidelines allowing educational institutions to
resume in a phased manner starting with finalists, Primary seven, Senior four,
and senior six students and those in their final years in Universities and
But the move comes at a time when
the institutions are facing financial challenges following a two-month lull brought
about by an outbreak of coronavirus disease. Several of them had indefinitely
suspended operations while others sent their staff on unpaid leave for the last
Now, Professor John Ssenyonyi, the
outgoing vice-chancellor of Uganda Christian University notes that unless they
receive significant government support, they might fail to reopen given the immense financial impact of the Coronavirus shutdown. He was speaking in his
capacity as the chairman of the Vice-Chancellors’ Forum.
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Professor John Chrysostom
Maviiri, the vice-chancellor of Uganda Martyrs’ University notes that although
the university is opening for a few students which on average might be 30 per cent of the total number, several expenditures will not change.
Prof. Maviiri also notes that
universities are not even sure that students who had not remitted tuition will
pay on return, given the fact that they are also equally affected by the
lockdown. On top of the stimulus and tax breaks, he adds that they also need a grace
period on basic payments like utilities.
Dr Mouhammad Mpezamihigo, the Vice-Chancellor of Kampala international university notes that if they are
given government support, it will mean the higher education sector can maintain
the capacity to play its vital role in a difficult period.
Prof. Vicent Kakembo, the Vice
chancellor of Muteesa I Royal University notes that if the government doesn’t
intervene, they are left with a single option of accessing finance through
commercial banks which will certainly push the burden to the students in one or
the other. But he fears that shifting
the burden to students must throw a number of them out of school.
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However, Professor Ssenyonyi,
notes that commercial loans would be suicidal. He points at a possible transfer
of students from institutions who might fail to reopen. But, he notes that the
transfer option would come with a lot of challenges.