MPs disagree over university exams
Lawmakers have disagreed on a motion seeking Parliament’s approval to allow Uganda Christian University (UCU) to administer take home exams to students, following closure of schools over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hon. Winfred Kiiza (FDC, Kasese district) moved the motion during plenary sitting on 8 April 2020, arguing that failure to allow the students to sit for the exam will tamper with the university’s calendar.
“By the time of closure of institutions of learning, UCU had prepared students to sit for their end of first semester exams that ends in April,” she said.
She added that the university rescinded its earlier position and allowed even students who have not cleared tuition to sit for the exams, thereby giving all students the opportunity to complete the semester.
Hon. Moses Kasibante (Ind. Rubaga Division) justified that closing institutions of learning to curb the COVID-19 virus did not mean that learning stops.
“UCU should be applauded for innovating the take home exam. Government should borrow a leaf and promote online learning,” he said.
Other legislators, however, opposed the motion, saying that Parliament already took a stand and stopped the university from administering the take home exams.
Hon. Abbas Agaba (NRM, Kitagwenda County) said that Parliament will be compromising its earlier position by creating a window allowing UCU students to sit for exams and yet other institutions of learning are adhering to the government’s directive.
“How can Parliament allow some of the students to have an edge over others? What happens to students in other universities?” he wondered.
Hon. Asuman Basalirwa (JEEMA, Bugiri Municipality) advised that a decision should be taken in consideration of all institutions of higher learning.
“Even if these students sit for the exam, we risk receiving more petitions over exam irregularities,” he said.
Hon. Abdullatif Sebaggala (Ind. Kawempe Division North) called for consultations between all institutions of higher learning so that they can reach an agreed position to benefit all.
“The situation is abnormal and requires abnormal solutions. All universities have been affected, our education calendar has been changed. Let us reach a position that will cut across to all institutions of higher learning,” he said.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, directed the Minister of Education and Sports to carry out further consultations and report to Parliament after the Easter break.
UCU designed a take home exam for the students but the education minister cancelled the university’s action.
According to the UCU Vice Chancellor, Dr. John Senyonyi, all the take home exams were expected to be availed to registered students through the e-learning platform, emails, WhatsApp, and other means that shall be approved by the university from time to time.