KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY; Several prospective graduates from the School of Education at Makerere University will miss this year’s 72nd graduation after their names did not appear in the official graduation book.
The affected students who are meant to graduate on today first received a soft copy of the graduation booklet on Thursday evening before the distribution of hard copies on Saturday.
Graduation booklets are released every year bearing the names of all qualifying students. The booklet is used by the chancellor who confirms each student’s qualification by reading one name at a time. In addition, the booklet is used by the university senate to distribute invitation cards to graduands and their guardians for the function.
After releasing a series of draft graduation lists to students and ensuring that all errors are corrected, a final copy of the graduation booklet is printed as the final confirmation of successful students. However, while graduands from the College of Health Sciences, School of Law, and the College of Natural Sciences were celebrating their academic victory on Monday, representatives of over 40 affected students met at University Hall awaiting to hear from their college principal on the matter.
Maureen Akello, a former student of bachelor of Arts with Education, said that she was extremely disappointed to find her name missing from the booklet after she was cleared for graduation and even bought a gown. Her name appears in the final draft booklet.
“My parents are aware that graduation is tomorrow [Tuesday], and I have actually failed to approach them and tell them that I am not graduating. I have completely failed and the school where I teach, they gave me a job well assured that I’m graduating in May. So how then can I go back and tell them I am not graduating and yet they even gave me a leave of graduation,” she said.
Her coursemate, Hellen Tendo explained that being on the final graduation draft meant she had all her results in place and hence eligible for graduation. She was however shocked when the booklet came out with her name missing and has to wait until next year to graduate.
“We already spent a lot of time, we lost that time during the lockdown and then we did our internship this year in January expecting to graduate in May and now we have to wait for almost like seven months to the next graduation. This is really going to affect us because we don’t have even the right documents to go and look for jobs. They will ask us for the transcripts which for sure we can’t produce at the moment,” said Tendo.
Jonah Kyeswa, who was pursuing a Bachelor of Sciences with Education explained that their back and forth engagements with the university administration is to see that they receive transcripts together with this cohort.
“We had people who had organised parties and what are you going to tell people back at home? It seems as though the university wants to play it safe and the students go with the shame. They’d promised us that we shall give you a letter and you get the transcripts this year but how sure are we when we have not seen that certified list of the people who have graduated this year and not included. We feel very disappointed at such a university that even has a law school that this can happen to us. So we hope that things can change maybe not in our year but let them start doing things the way they should be done,” said Kyeswa.
Jonathan Kitimbo, another affected student, notes that their plea is that a list is made and read out at the graduation as proof that they will receive transcripts at the end of the day.
Since Friday when the students were advised to submit their names to the dean of school for consideration, no tangible solution has been arrived at. Prof Umar Kakumba, the deputy vice-chancellor of academics in response noted that sometimes there are errors with students like mistakes in name spelling, and glitches that have been experienced with the transition of Makerere’s student records management system to a new one among others.
Kakumba noted that while the students won’t attend the graduation occasion, a meeting with the senate that approves marks will be held to confirm their degrees.
“We shall not read their names at the graduation but immediately after graduation, the chairman of the senate and I will meet and confirm their qualification and process their documents,” responded Kakumba.
Other than the School of Education, students from the College of Computing and Information Science together with the College of Engineering, Design Art and Technology have expressed similar concerns. This year 12,473 graduands will be awarded degrees and diplomas excluding those that have raised issues.
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