Kampala. Makerere University School of Law has rejected a call from the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, to increase its intake.
The school’s principal, Dr Christopher Mbazira, said almost half of his teaching staff have never had an office at the school from where to attend to students, keep their materials and prepare for lectures and mark.
Dr Mbazira also said his office ceiling caved in some years back and has never been repaired. He accused the University Council of taking the money the Law school had saved to create more teaching and office space.
“The staff [attend to] students in their vehicles and use the same when waiting to do lectures. It is now more than 10 years the school continues to operate in constrained and unsafe space, infested with termites and a leaking roof. A few years ago, the ceiling of the principal office collapsed. The administration block is a health hazard, the School of Law building is condemned,” Dr Mbazira said in his July 20 reply to Prof Nawangwe requesting that the school increases its first year enrolment from 320 to 500.
However, Prof Nawangwe argues that the university’s teaching space has since increased 40 times from what it used to be in 2006 after the construction of three central teaching facilities to accommodate more students.
Dr Mbazira also reminded Prof Nawangwe how the council approved that their strategy is to be a research-led institution which concentrates on postgraduate programmes rather than on the undergraduate courses.
This followed a 2006 University Council decision to reduce the university’s first year intake in undergraduate courses by 10 per cent, which is now affecting their revenue collection, according to Prof Nawangwe.
“The school board took note of the fact that the strategic direction of Makerere is to become a research-led university, putting emphasis on postgraduate studies and research. Increasing the number of undergraduates runs counter to this. The expectation is that the university will gradually reduce undergraduate numbers, increase postgraduate recruitment and build its research capacity. The decision of the board was that the university needs to address the above challenges before the numbers are increased,” Dr Mbazira said.
With an overall enrolment of 1,500 law students, Dr Mbazira said adding on students will overstretch his 35 academic staff which will ultimately compromise delivery of quality education.
He also suggested that the university boosts the staff morale by paying them their arrears accrued from teaching evening classes and internship supervision.