News

Makerere investigates 13,000 ‘fake degrees’

By Daily Monitor/BBC

One of the Uganda’s top universities has launched an investigation into allegations that fake degrees were awarded to students.

The BBC reported yesterday that of the12, 000 graduates from Makerere University, at least 600 did not meet minimum requirements, officials said. All 600 students under scrutiny graduated from the humanities and social sciences college.

Deputy vice-chancellor Ernest Okello Ogwang told the BBC he suspected exam results had been deliberately changed.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper reported that, Makerere University students who graduated last month may wait a little longer to get their academic transcripts until the ongoing verification of each graduate’s marks is completed.

All colleges had been asked to verify each and every student’s results. Prof. Edward Kirumira, the Principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, told Daily Monitor on Tuesday that he was not sure how many graduates had been affected by the verification exercise.

“The process of reconfirming the validity of results that were submitted is what has caused all this. All colleges were supposed to verify their students’ results. How many have been affected by this process is what I don’t know,” Prof Kirumira said.

“The academic registrar is holding on to these transcripts until the process is completed. I don’t know when this will end but we had up to February 23 to submit back the verified information,” Prof Kirumira said.

The university administration was cagey on the number of the affected graduates, but the students Daily Monitor interviewed said none of their course-mates had received their transcripts.

A total of 13, 776 students received diplomas, degrees and doctorates for different courses at the university’s graduation last month.

Many students told Daily Monitor that they had gone to the university to pick their academic papers but were turned away. This means they cannot apply for professional jobs or scholarships for further studies.

The verification exercise was prompted by information that names of some unqualified graduates had found their way onto the graduation list.

“I went to Senate at the Transcripts Office to pick my transcript but I was told our college has issues so they have not started printing them. I was told that they didn’t include our internship marks while calculating the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). I wondered how then we ended up on the graduation list,” said one of the affected students from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences who declined to be named for fear of reprimand.

Another student from the College of Business and Management Sciences said she wasn’t given a reason why she could not get her transcript, but was asked to return next month.

“None of my colleagues has got a transcript. They said they put the issuance of transcripts on hold because there was a problem. My challenge is that I am applying for jobs with a testimonial but they keep telling me that they need a transcript,” she explained.

Prof Okello Ogwang, the university Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academics, yesterday said although there was a cleanup of the graduation list before the graduation day, it was important for the different colleges to verify information on their own students and make recommendations.

“We sensed that some marks were changed and we put a committee to investigate it. We are waiting for a report which the university management will work on accordingly. Students are receiving their transcripts. I don’t know the final detail. If you probably don’t get it, then there is a query on your transcript,” Prof Ogwang said.

This is not the first time Makerere University is suffering such a hitch. In October 2012, police arrested two officials in the office of the academic register on charges of altering students’ marks.

There had been complaints from the School of Economics and Management that examination results that had been approved by the Senate and pinned on the students’ notice boards and uploaded on the university website were different from what the school had submitted to the Senate. Little is known on what became of the investigations into the matter.

The Senate approves the final marks submitted by the various colleges before they are pinned on notice boards or uploaded on the university website.

For a long time, there have been claims that some lecturers and university officials receive bribes to give undeserved marks to students at the country’s prime and oldest university.

There is also information that some students graduate without completing their research dissertations while others get degrees they did not study for. There have also been reports of lecturers not marking students’ examination scripts but forging the results, making marks disappear or giving marks to students who fail the pass mark.

Prof Ogwang told journalists early this month that cybercrime is currently the university’s biggest challenge. However, he said he was optimistic that recommendations from this ongoing investigation would guide the university on how to manage its information.

Last year, Prof. John Dumba-Ssentamu, the vice chancellor, suspended Prof Elisam Magara, a lecturer at the East African School of Library and Information Sciences, on accusations that he submitted students’ marks to the Head of Department without marking the examination scripts.

Prof. Magara petitioned court and secured an interim order restraining the university from taking any punitive action against him until the main case is concluded.

 

error: Content is protected !!