Members of Parliament have called for more financial support for Makerere University to further development towards research and academic excellence.
Parliament adopted a motion for a resolution to commemorate 100 years of the existence of Makerere University, Ugandans largest and oldest institution of higher learning.
Moving the motion, Hon. Elijah Mushemeza (Ind., Sheema South), said that the University has stood the test of time, especially in areas of teaching, research, publishing and outreach.
“This is observed in terms of the ability of staff in designing relevant programmes and courses, teaching, examination and supervision of student research,” he said.
He said that the University is heading towards becoming a research-led institution with a fully fledged science and technology centre by 2030.
Hon. Asuman Basalirwa (Jeema, Bugiri Municipality), who was a guild president of Makerere University in 2000, said that the University needs urgent financial support for it to “build for the future”.
“Makerere is bleeding. When you go to Makerere now…look at my former Hall, the great Lumumba empire…it is now a shell,” he said.
The State Minister for Higher Education, John Chrysestom Muyingo, appealed to Parliament to support the university as it re-positions itself into a research led institution.
Hon. Yusuf Nsibambi (FDC, Mawokota South) who lectured at the Law School at Makerere called on top university administrators, who listened in from the public gallery, to work on retaining its senior teaching staff by ensuring good working conditions.
Meanwhile some members decried the shrinking space for freedom of expression the university.
Hon. Anna Adeke (FDC, Soroti district) said that the celebration of the institution’s 100 years should be used as a moment of reflection in regard to the abuse of freedom of expression.
“Makerere as a centre of excellence thrives on academic free expression and it is my view that this space has been closed. The government captured the spaces at Makerere University that it is no longer an area of free expression,” said Adeke, also a former guild president there.
Recently, the University Council suspended the students’ guild and indefinitely deferred elections for the university’s 88th guild president after a student was killed in clashes involving some opposition political parties.
However, the Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, said that actions by students sometimes call for decisions by leaders at the University that might not be popular.
“The moment students start killing each other, you also find that they are limiting themselves. If you are a manager of the university you have to take action, they might not be popular,” Tayebwa said.