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Makerere Suspends Plans to Close Fort Portal Campus

Makerere University has reversed and halted a decision to close its Fort Portal until at least after 2018.[9]

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The decision rescinds a declaration made two months ago by the University Council that the campus would not open for the 2016/17 academic year.[5] The earlier decision was based on poor student enrollment since the inception of the campus six years ago.

Moses Mugisa,[2] a second year student of Business Administration dragged the university to court for breach of contract.[6]

He accused the university of illegally closing the campus and relocating students to the main campus in Makerere and Jinja campus.

[8]He argued that he did not apply to get admitted elsewhere and that relocating him from his point of admission would affect his businesses.

Last week, Fort Portal High court Judge David Batema, [7]advised the two parties to settle the matter amicably and report back to court.

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The two sides resolved this morning that the campus will continue operating until 2018,[5] to enable the current students complete their studies.[9] The parties also agreed that there will be no admission of new students in the 2016/2017 academic year at the campus and the lecturers will be relocated to Kampala and Jinja in 2018.[10]

The agreement was between Mugisa’s lawyer Richard Bwiruka and Prof Baker Nyakaana who represented Makerere University.

Earlier, leaders in the region voiced their concern on the closure. Last week, [5]Richard Rwabuhinga, the Kabarole district chairperson, petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to intervene and halt the closure of the campus.

In the petition, Rwabuhinga argued that the Fort Portal campus was meant to provide services to students in the Rwenzori sub-region who could not afford the costs of studying at the Makerere main campus.[3] Kadaga who was in Kabarole district, said that parliament will debate the petition and come out with a decision.[2]

The Fort Portal campus serves students from Kabarole and neighboring districts Kibaale, Ibanda, [12]Hoima, Bundibugyo, Bushenyi, Kasese,[1] Kyenjojo, Kamwenge and Ntoroko. The campus currently has 200 students on certificate, degree and diploma courses and only five full-time lecturers who have been at the campus since 2010.

Makerere University deputy vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration Prof Barnabas Nawangwe had issued a circular stating that all students and staff from the Fort Portal Campus would be relocated to Makerere and Jinja campuses with effect from the 2016/ 2017 academic year.[3]

Fort Portal also hosts two private universities;[6] Mountains of the Moon and Uganda Pentecostal University.

Source: The Observer

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