The minister of Education, Ms Janet Museveni has questioned the motive behind Makerere University students’ protest against tuition increment and said most of the students at the forefront are “privileged ones.”
“Many of these students are sponsored by Government, Master Card Foundation, State House while others are beneficiaries of the Higher Education Students Loan Scheme,” Ms Museveni said in a statement shared on her social media platforms on Tuesday.
The minister also said she had learnt that some of the protestors are not students from Makerere or any other university in Uganda.
According to her, some people who took part in the protest that started on October 22 against the 15 percent cumulative tuition increment approved by the university council last year, had been hired to cause mayhem at Uganda’s oldest public university.
“I have learned with dismay that some of the people involved in this “demonstration” are not students from Makerere University or any other university for that matter. They are people who have made it their way of life to be paid to join any riot wherever it is happening. Apparently, the political opposition in this country – who are well funded “somehow” by some “unknown sources” – find it useful to pay unemployed young people to riot wherever and whenever they believe they see a viable opportunity,” she said.
Comparing Makerere University and Uganda Christian University (UCU) tuition structures, the minister said corruption has much to do with the protest. UCU is a private church-founded university.
“Corruption has so much to do with what is happening at our Universities – not just Makerere University but several others. First of all, it is important to understand that Makerere University Management took the trouble to ensure that students were fully involved and consulted in the process of establishing an acceptable tuition fee structure for the Institution, through a series of consultations with the student leadership, and the outcomes were agreed upon by both three parties, as well as benchmarking with other similar universities. How then do students turn around, afterwards, and accuse the University management of imposing “high costs” on the students?” she asked.
According to her, the logical and right thing to do would have been to ask for further consultations so as to revisit the issue and find a new way forward.