The scrapping of evening classes at Makerere, a good move?

Nile Post News


Makerere, be the Author and not the Reader

Mable Twegumye Zake – @MableTwegumye

Mable Twegumye Zake

Mable Twegumye Zake

First cut is the deepest, an adage popularly used in love but in the case of Makerere University, you are many a people’s first cut and trust that you are hard to forget or never forgotten.

In Uganda, you hold most records for having been first at many things because you were the first University. One of a kind from whom other Universities borrowed roots to grow and for which without you, their history is incomplete.
You whose endless list of the accomplished is never short of Presidents and achievers across the continent or those on whose actions this country have either uplifted it or turned it upside down.

Those whose lives depended on joining the famous “Kasozi” and from which the word “Campus” only meant Makerere University.
What happened to you? Who are you now that you were never before? Who bruised you and turned your famous to infamous? From strikes that caused political change in this country and created nationalists in the past to strikes today that have turned tuition into intuition that drives demonstrations as part of the Programs throughout the yearly calendar.

First Cut is the deepest yet those whose careers you have built point fingers at you for what you have become yet still pride in the legacy that defines you. Don’t they owe you all they have become to fight enough to restore you and maintain your legacies for a University remains important because of its people? At a time when you should be a study for research to new entrants in the field of academia on running different programs and time frames for an institution that should be heading towards the twenty four hour operation, then it all seems to be crumbling down with abolishing of evening programmes.

Gallant Makerere, just like you have changed over time from 14 students in 1922 to graduating over 10000 annually, many things have changed including moving from day programme to evening because we live in the world where moonlighting has become part of the day to day basics.
Just like you claimed that there are many Universities that can train graduates today unlike before, so can you be able to reduce the numbers of the students and cut the costs at the same time, using the grading system of increasing the entry points after all, it is on that backbone from which your legacies have stood over the years instead of abandoning the evening programme.

Go Forward and not backwards Makerere for if a University like you is crying over expenses incurred and blaming it on evening students who even pay way more than Day students but are to pay the price for missing out on education, then how will you manage the growing need for online education?
Be the author and not the reader by busking in curbing the challenges that sabotage people today from acquiring education for instance because they are slaves to workplaces and lay out provisions for them to embrace instead of taking away that opportunity.
First Cut is the Deepest for those it is slicing deeply into the flesh for being thrown under the bus after you abolished the evening programme because the Day and Afternoon programmes are a death sentence to their jobs. Didn’t you think of better alternatives like getting your grasp fast on Weekend Programmes and online programmes?

World Ranking Universities like Harvard, University of Oxford among others are 24-hour Universities, a step that you must have authored already for others to learn from you just like they have been doing in the past.
Unfortunately, you have cut the wings off those who were willing to fly despite of all the challenges they face through the workforce and only cater to those you feel need education most.

First Cut is the Deepest to one whose flesh feels the pain most and I feel it too.

The beauty and Burden of Evening Classes; Compromising quality

Dalton Kaweesa – @DaltonKaweesa

Dalton Kaweesa

Dalton Kaweesa

If you have not read Prof Mahmood Mamdani’s literary works ‘Scholars in the market place: The dilemmas of Neo – liberal reforms at Makerere university, please be humble and sit down! Last week I heard Jane, Milly, and Prossy emotionally respond when Makerere university announced the scrapping of evening classes.

Of course the arguments of many were based on emotion rather than the philosophical foundation of Public education. I know my position could rub many members the wrong way, but wait a minute, is it Henry Thoreau, the American philosopher who said, that any one man more right than his neighbours constitutes the majority of one, well let me walk his teaching here.

Back to professor Mahmood Mamdani. The celebrated scholar makes an appeal on the educational consequences of commercialisation of education. At the time of the reforms at Makerere university in the 1990s , there were concern of working class who wanted to upgrade, pretty the same weak baseline argument that is being fronted today by people who think the scrapping of evening is a wrong move recipe for disaster. People in this mob reasoning have not spared a breathe to ask themselves the good in scrapping the evening programs.
In his book , Prof Mamdani explains the danger of commercialisation of education as a public good arguing that ultimately it is going to focus on market than real hallmark of education.

Let me bring this home, it is blind to say that students on evening program have not made a huge contribution to the university education turnover as well as a source of income to Makerere – Thank you. But does anyone care to look at what goes on in the evening lectures? The brutal truth is neither do the many enrolled students make it for lectures nor even the lecturers take the classes seriously. Many people walk away with degrees without actual reading due to lack of proper supervision.

My conviction is that the debate on whether to scrap or not to scrap evening classes, should be shifted to the quality of university education that Makerere offers through these programs. The way evening classes are structured at the university, demonstrates that it is tailored to meeting the objective of being a cash cow rather than offer an avenue for working class to advance their education. There lies the real debate on this scrapping. Makerere university gets global recognition for being a research based university, and it is common to hear that Dr/ Prof what-not is away on research. But with the current setting, lecturers teach up to twelve lectures a week – let us face it country men and women , the quality is compromised.

One of those cheeky tales across the table in a tavern, I have heard people disparaging Nigeria allegedly for having many military generals that have never fired a single shot away from the drills of a military colleges. In the same spirit , this country wouldn’t want to have a population with many degrees but the quality.

I also heard that Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice chancellor assert that colleges that wish to have the evening classes , they should make an arrangement and only remit 20% of their revenue to the centre. Looked at the same in the professor’s eyes and wondered What kind of madness has visited the great alma mater! Does this the good old professor care what would become of the education offered. With the chaos that happens at colleges, leaving this in their control will be the greatest mistake in education realm. Makerere has a constituent college, has it later on Council for Higher Education have done an audit of the courses that are being offered? In the spirit of tomorrow and generations to come, I say the Quality education is what stands between those opposed to scrapping stands and us who believe the conversation over it should start.

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