Government-sponsored students at Makerere University are protesting the selective disbursement of allowances. Apparently, only students from the School of Medicine and those under the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security (COVAB) received their allowances as of last week.
Makerere university resumed learning activities on August 30, 2021, with online lectures for finalists. Timothy Weere, the Guild Finance Minister informed students in a circular he issued last week that only students physically at the university should expect to receive allowances through their bank accounts.
The students received food and living out allowances by the end of the week as promised. Those staying in halls of residence only received food allowance amounting to Shillings 530,000 while off-campus students received an additional Shillings 230,000 for their living out allowance.
However, before the money was released, government-sponsored students through their association asked the university to disperse the funds to all students whether or not they attending physical or virtual lectures.
Allan Lokot, a government-sponsored student in his third year, argues that the allowances help them to meet costs beyond food and residence. He explains that students like him save off this money to buy handouts, basic requirements like airtime for online lectures and hostel necessities.
Polly Nagaba, a student in year one notes that as affected students their appeal through the dean of students to access the money hasn’t yielded results.
Francis Itiang, a final year Bachelor of Journalism and Communication student revealed that she struggles to secure Shillings 10,000 every week for the online lectures, unlike last time where the money was released early enough to all students.
Francis says, “at least during the previous lockdown, our allowances were released the moment lectures started online.” Last year, when the university resumed learning activities following an eight-month-long lockdown due to the spread of Covid-19, the government released allowances for all students even when some had not reported for physical lectures.
Yusuf Waidembe, the chairperson of Makerere University Government Students Association explains that he was informed through the students’ dean’s office that arrangements for the rest to receive their allowances in November were underway.