Universities

WORRYING! MEPs denounce low enrollment in public universities

By our journalist

A section of lawmakers from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament has denounced the low enrollments of public universities after officials at Lira University admitted to having only two professors, while enrollment at the University of Kabale amount to 19%.

This was during a meeting between senior officials of Kabale University who had been summoned to address issues raised in the Auditor General’s 2021 report.

In the audit report, Kabale University reportedly returned Shs 354,991,986 to the consolidated fund, after failing to use all Shs 40.95 billion the University received.

Johnson Baryantuma Munono, secretary of Kabale University, told the Committee that the balance returned to the treasury came from unpaid staff salaries attributed to staff turnover and deaths towards the end of the year.

He said: “Due to staff turnover and the lengthy recruitment for the replacement, this amount of money could not be spent. Our staffing levels are now at 19% but recently we got money for recruitment, I think we are now completing the recruitment exercise, we are adding about 100 people out of the 361 we have. Among those who are recruited, about 80% are teachers because we focus more on teaching than administration.

This prompted Medard Sseggona, president of the PAC, to alert fellow legislators to their keen interest in the low enrollments of public universities, citing the case of Lira University which has only two professors.

“I think we need to note something cross-cutting about staffing levels and chart the difference because we need to do something about staffing levels. How can you have 19% headcount and expect efficiency? asked Ssegona.

According to the administration of the University, Kabale University at the end of 2021 had 4361 students and the University has 12 professors and six associate professors and other lecturers and the University is led by 361 teaching staff and not a teacher.

Fredrick Angura (Tororo South) asked university bosses to detail the number of newly recruited staff who are academics, asking: “The accountant spoke of a marginally good number compared to other entities that we have met. Your primary mandate is training and learning, of the additional 100 staff with regards to interviews, how many will be teaching staff and how many will be support staff.

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