At least 3000 students of Gulu University have missed sitting for their end of semester examinations as the lectures’ strike hits hard.
The lecturers are protesting non-payment of their weekend allowances.
According to Khalid Mahmood, the University’s publicist, the lecturers’ demands of payment of up to 500 million shillings could not be met immediately as the University secretary is not around to sign the cheques.
Khalid said it is unfortunate that the members of Gulu University Academic staff Association (GUASA) have failed to understand the University and instead decided to victimise students.
He said the date for the start of all missed examinations will be communicated later.
On Saturday, the GUASA committee decided that they will not administer exams if they are not paid their weekend allowances totaling to 501 million shillings. The lecturers say they have not been paid their allowances since November last year.
But Khalid blames the GUASA executives for failing to agree with the University administration to administer the exams stating that their money was ready and only waiting for a signatory.
According to the Univesrity administration, the university secretary is already on his way from Kampala where he went to clear issues of salary for some lecturers.
Andrew Ogwetta Otto, the Gulu University guild president, said that it is a very unfortunate situation that students have to miss their examinations even after struggling to clear their tuition. He said the University and GUASA members should negotiate and ensure that students do not continue wasting time.
It is currently students from Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Peace and Strategic studies and Lira campus who are doing examinations since they are not affected by the weekend program. Each lecturer demands between 800,000 and 1 million shillings per month since November.
Last Semester, when the same team of lecturers laid down their tools, some students missed their morning examinations forcing the university to give itself an ultimatum of one week that they failed to honor. The lecturers now say the University can only negotiate with money since even salary pay is irregular.
In a May 18th circular, David Kitara Lagoro, the chairperson GUASA stated that the lecturers maintained their stand of no-pay no-lectures, adding that the University has money and they should pay the lecturers before the start of examinations.
When contacted on the matter, the University Vice Chancellor Prof Jack Nyeko Pen-Mogi told URN that he was not aware of the plan by the lecturers to withhold examinations. He was however hesitant to comment on whether the University had paid the lecturers the allowances they are demanding.