As Makerere University prepares for her 65th graduation ceremony slated for January 17, this year, examination malpractices have hit the Country’s oldest institution.
Investigations show that students and lecturers at the East African School of Library and Information Sciences (EASLIS) one way or another connive to cheat exams. EASLIS falls under the College of Computing and Information Sciences.
It has emerged that during the 2013/2014 examination that was conducted between December 31st 2013 and 24th January 2014, several cases of examination malpractices were registered, but varnished without serious investigations and punitive action against the culprits.
A case in point is Lawrence Kato, Reg No 12/U/6511/EVE and student No 21204873 who was found with a booklet full of answers to an exam paper, Document Cataloguing that he claimed to have completed within 13 minutes after the commencement of the exam.
After further investigations, it was also established that the serial numbers on answer booklets used by Kato in Document Cataloguing (BLS 2112) along with other course units such as Reference service (BLS 2106), Editing (BLS 2107) and Document classification (BLS 2103) were out of range.
EASLIS Examination Coordinator, Christine Kiconco in her examination coordination report said that prompt action was taken against the student that include removing and retaining the written material and sending the student out of the exam room.
“After one and half hours, I was advised to inform the chief invigilator (Joshua Kidaaga, owner of the paper) to cancel the paper and explain to students the reason and the set a new date for them to redo it in this case Jan 18,2014),” Kiconco said.
What was rather shocking is that the School ignored the fraudulent case and allowed the student to sit for the exam despite the fact that he (Kato) was found cheating four different papers.
Efforts to engage the School Dean Dr. George William Kiyingi to investigate Kidaaga bore no fruits.
At the same College, the whole class of Diploma in Library and Information Studies failed to graduate in 2013 because of a missing coursework.
In another instance, a graduation list of Bachelors of Information Systems candidates who had graduated in 2013 (63rd graduation) was the same list submitted to Senate for 64th graduation lot in January 2014.
In all these circumstances, no further investigations were instituted against the lecturers.
In a similar note, the University has come under intense pressure after a lecturer from the same School (EASLIS) was on December 16, 2014 suspended by VC Prof Ddumba Ssentamu for allegedly awarding and submitting marks to the head of department without marking the students’ scripts.
The course unit in contention is Oral history and Paleography (RAM 2108).
Magara who has worked for the University since 1997 has apparently sued Prof Ddumba and the University for suspending him illegally.
The suit that was received by the High Court on December 31 last year declares that, “the respondents acted ultra vires to irregularly suspend the applicant in breach of statue and denial of a fair hearing in breach of the principles of natural justice.”
Magara through his lawyer Akampumuza and Co. Advocates want court to issue a temporal injunction restraining the University from continuing with the irregular process of penalizing Magara as they await the court hearing come February 19,2015.
In a recent board meeting that took place on October 16 last year, it was observed that “not everyone should investigate Magara’s matter, but set up a committee to investigate the matter and that there should be no conflict of interest.”
The board agreed that the investigation should be handled by the Examination Irregularities Committee (EIC) and that Magara should have a fair hearing.
However, before EIC took up the investigation, Prof Ddumba allegedly grabbed the matter and took a prompt indecisive action against a fellow professor who in 2012 had contested him for University’s top job.