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Mak Private Students To Foot Bill For Field Course Unit

Makerere University management has stood its ground not to facilitate the field practice for privately sponsored students in the College of Health Sciences effective this year. Last week, the affected students staged a demonstration protesting delayed the disbursement of the facilitation by the university.

The students, who are dispatched to different areas for a month under the Community Based Education Research and Services- COBERS course unit, demanded to be facilitated or be permitted to choose affordable locations.

However, in his letter issued on Tuesday, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Finance, Professor Henry Alinaitwe informed the students that the university no longer has the capacity to facilitate the course unit. “With a policy revision in the last academic year, the university divested from the collection of funds that would be repaid to students,” he said.

He also clarified that students used to pay the facilitation as part of their functional fees to the tune of Shillings 200,000 annually, which reduced to Shillings 137,000 in 2019 to cater for supervision costs. However, the students say that they feel cheated since COBERS regardless of nature should be treated as a course unit and not an internship.

Olive Oluru, a fourth-year Medical student notes that the kind of response given by the management is illogical given that tuition rises annually under the 15 percent increment policy.

Makerere scrapped facilitation for internships that used to be given to both private and government-sponsored students in the academic year 2018/2019 with the same reasons given for COBERS. Alex Luswata, another student of Medicine revealed that their peaceful demonstrations over the facilitation would go on until the university responds to their satisfaction.

Luswata explained that at least the university management could have given them permission to choose convenient communities for their practice. This is because some of the areas they are dispatched to are far from campus like Lira, Kasese and Mbale districts among others.

Students from the College of Health Sciences at Makerere University pay a minimum of Shillings 2Million for tuition.

-URN

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