Legislators sitting on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – Central Government were stunned to learn that Busitema University is operating with 29 percent of the requisite academic staff.
The top management team of the university were on Thursday, 15 September 2022 appearing before the committee presided over by the vice-chairperson, Hon. Sarah Opendi, over queries from the Auditor General’s report for financial year ended 2021.
University Secretary, Abert Mutungwire, told the committee that they are understaffed despite being a science-based institution, adding that there are only 99 academic staff, translating into 29 percent of the required minimum of 50 percent.
To cover up the manpower gap, Mutungwire said that they straightway required 150 staff, especially lecturers and senior lecturers to properly cover their six campuses.
“We need them across the board but more specifically in the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, and Faculty of Natural Resources and Education and Science,” he said, adding that that several staff were due for promotion after attaining PhDs.
“We have 20 cases of those who are senior lecturers but now qualify to be associate professors. We have 10 cases of professors and 30 cases of lecturers who want to be promoted to senior lecturers,” he said.
He further revealed that they had been subdued by the finance ministry’s instruction to only recruit to replace departing staff.
However, Members of Parliament on the committee questioned how the university was operating with 400 staff across all the six campuses and also raised concern over the quality of graduates being produced.
The committee tasked the team to produce evidence of their request to add more staff and the ministry letters on new recruitment.
Hon. Michael Mawanda, the Igara County East MP, said that the core mandate for the university is teaching and learning but he is shocked that the university has a 29 percent staffing level.
“This is the area we would like to interest ourselves in, because the knowledge you impact on students will have a far reaching consequence on the people. When you have a 29 percent staffing, then the output will be lacking and more so, you have separate campuses,” he said.
Hon. Isaac Modoi, the Lutseshe County MP, said that understaffing may compromise on the quality of the graduates.
The university also decried underfunding of the capital budget to support infrastructure expansion, saying that only Shs2.3 billion of Shs9.6 billion is given to them annually. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entity only collected Shs4.9 billion as Non-Tax Revenue of the anticipated Shs6.5 billion.