Kyambogo University becomes the second Public University to postpone the opening of the first semester by a week over the ongoing strike by the non-teaching staff of the public universities.
The decision to postpone the opening was taken after a meeting between officials from public universities and the minister of education, Janet Kataha Museveni on Friday.
Sources that attended the meeting say the minister tried all in vain to convince the non-teaching staff to call off the strike without success. Left with no option, the different parties agreed that the best option would be to postpone the opening date.
Professor Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya, the acting Vice Chancellor of Kyambogo University confirmed the development. He says earlier in the day, they met the minister with his colleagues from other universities and took a joint decision to postpone the opening. He says the one week extension will give the Public Universities and the ministry officials time to try and sort out the problems.
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He calls the decision unfortunate, but says they were left with no option, but to postpone the opening to avoid management lapses.
Makerere University earlier on also announced the postponement of the opening of the first semester to August 13th. Despite pleas from different stakeholders, the non-teaching staff under the umbrella Public Universities Non-Teaching Staff Consultative Forum-PUNSTEF has stuck to their guns, demanding for release of the arrears for 2015/16 academic year.
They argue that in the previous discussions with the President and the finance ministry officials, it was agreed that their salary enhancements for this financial year would be paid together with the arrears for the last financial year. However, to their dismay, the members claim that when they met the Permanent Secretary of the Finance Ministry, Keith Muhakanizi, they were told that their money for arrears was used to repatriate Ugandans who were trapped in the South Sudan conflict.
Jackson Betihamah, the PUNTSEF Chairperson says this is an insult to the non-teaching staff of the public universities and wonders why the finance ministry chose to use the funds for the salary arrears, yet the repatriation should have been catered for under the disaster preparedness ministry.