The newly elected leaderhsip for the Makerere University academic staff has been challenged to innovatively find avenues through which to boost the university’s revenue so as to deal with the challenges that arise from insufficiency in funding.
The call was made on Monday while the new members of the Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) executive committee assumed office.
Makerere University has faced perennial strikes by the staff who continuously demand for better remuneration. But the university management has often said the institution lacks resources meet these demands given its already huge wage bill.
On Monday, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Barnabas Nawangwe emphasized the need for the staff body to rethink the university’s sources of funding including research.
“We have a heavy responsibility. We are ranked second academic institution in research in Africa but Cape Town University spends three times what we spend on research,” Nawangwe said.
Citing the example of the College of Health Sciences which has earned significant resources from government commissioned research projects, he interested the academic staff in establishing research grant units in every College.
“We have to enforce our policies. Every PhD and Masters student must begin to publish at least one publication before they finish. This is what the best universities do,” the Vice Chancellor said.
Similarly, the Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance, Prof William Bazeyo challenged MUASA leadership to explore available opportunities within the university to boost the resource envelope. As opposed to decrying their meagre pay, he advised the Association to start businesses that can earn income.
“You must stop crying to management to increase remuneration. Stop being selfish and consider writing proposals that will benefit other people,” Bazeyo said.
He also proposed that MUASA signs Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with government entities so as to take on consultancy works and other projects that require the expertise of the academia.
In his inaugural speech after swearing in, the new MUASA Chairman, Dr Deus Kamunyu said his leadership will expand saving opportunities for staff by investing in business ventures like a food court, a sports academy, gym, health spa and memorabilia.
He also intends to form a SACCO for the staffers to enable them save their income.
He however called on Management to adopt transparency and planned expenditure so as to ensure value for money.
“We need to see accountability and transparency through procedures that are guided by approved operating manuals. We want improvement in college financial management, increased disclosure. Sensational bexpenditure is not good,” Kamunyu said.
He said that for long, the university has exhibited bad compliance to financial related policies together with poor ethics in financial management.
As a result of this culture, he said that staff and students continue to work and learn in a poor environment.
“We want to undermine the possibility of not complying to budgets by using pro-service delivery procurement system that is quick and gives value for money.”
While previously MUASA has been known to be often times at loggerheads with the government, Kamunyu said his leadership would focus on creating a “healthy relationship”.