KAMPALA. Makerere University staff were yesterday divided at a proposal to eliminate the school structure from colleges and elevate the dean’s status to supervisory role at a college level.
Dr Umar Kakumba, the Dean of the College of Business and Management Sciences, welcomed some of the proposals, but said others left many questions unanswered.
For instance, Dr Kakumba argued that removing schools would overload heads of departments who are already coordinating both the graduate and undergraduate programmes.
He questioned the future of departments if schools are removed.
“It (proposal) is a double-edged sword. It curtails departmental growth because if they are to grow, what do they grow into? Worldwide, we have units that are called schools which can grow independently but not departments. What are you going to do with the existing schools? The School of Gender does not have a department. What happens?” Dr Kakumba asked.
Dr Sarah Ssali, the acting Dean School of Women and Gender, without giving details called for an independent inquiry into their performance.
However, Dr Ronald Kakungulu-Mayambala, a lecturer at the School of Law, supported the proposals, saying they will help improve the efficiency in running the colleges.
Dr Mayambala cited the School of Law, which he said does not have deans but has delivered their core mandate of teaching and research.
“The core functions of the university which is teaching, learning, innovation, research and community outreach are performed at the unit level whether there are schools or not. It will be a good move to cutting costs and improving efficiency since these deans’ roles are duplicating roles of heads of department,” he said.
Dr Deus Muhwezi, the chairperson of Makerere University Academic Staff Association, said he was unable to speak on behalf of the association as they had not been consulted and had not looked at the document.
“The college is due for review and we all accept but how it is reviewed should allow a conclusive debate. People are treating this as if it’s a sneaking document,” Dr Muhwezi said.
Associate Prof Gorettie N Nabanoga, deputy principal College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences said it will be difficult to manage the colleges if the position of deans for coordinating academic programmes is removed.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, who commissioned the report on Wednesday said the report will be discussed by management and sent to Senate before presenting it to Council.