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Makerere University in Transition, 1993-2000: Opportunities and Challenges

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Both Makerere University and the nation of Uganda are engaged in a process of reform that is attracting comment from both internal and external observers. The university has developed a distinctive model of reform that is worth documenting. Driven by the 1992 Government of Uganda Education Policy White Paper and national policies of liberalization, privatization and decentralization, Makerere University is today a university in transition. Until 1991, Makerere University relied totally on government funding for both tuition and living expenses for all its students. From 1992, the government of Uganda initiated a high-priority focus on primary education that decreased government remittances to Makerere, leaving academic programmes severely underfunded. Buildings were in advanced stages of disrepair, and staff were grossly underpaid and demoralized. In the meantime, the demand for university admissions far outstripped the physical infrastructure. Since 1992, the sorry state of affairs at Makerere has been reversed. In less than ten years, Makerere University's student population has expanded almost fourfold, with the vast majority now paying fees. Academic programmes are being transformed, while power and authority are being decentralized and badly needed rehabilitation of the infrastructure has started to use funds generated from student fees.

The key objective of this case study of Makerere University is to help the university acquire a broad frame of reference for strategic thinking and planning of institutional development. To do this, the study will outline factors behind Makerere's transition, detail consequences of the transition and assess its prospects for sustainable development. The broader objectives include:

© 2017 Partnership for Higher Education in Africa. Last updated: 12 October 2010