The Vice chancellors from the different universities in Uganda have opposed the government’s idea to charge uniform fees to all students from the East African member countries.
The chairperson Uganda Vice Chancellors Forum, Prof Venansius Baryamureeba said Uganda is a free market economy and universities set their tuition fees depending on their operational and administrative needs.
He was speaking at a consultative meeting between vice chancellors and officials from National Council for Higher Education recently.
Baryamureba noted that if the proposal is adopted, there will be no research and publication at universities and thus becoming like secondary schools.
“It is like saying the government is going to start determining the retail price for sugar. Once it is a liberalised economy, issues of fees or prices are determined by the service provider and the consumer has an option to choose where to go,” he said added
However, John Chrysostom Muyingo, the minister for Higher Education said by universities’ delay in implementing the proposal for a uniform fees structure defeats the spirit of integration.
“We are urging you to enforce what the regional presidents agreed upon and have mercy on fellow East Africans.Why should a Kenyan student come to Uganda and be charged differently?” the minister asked.
In Uganda, students from other East African countries are charged higher fees compared to national students.
Last month, the government accepted a proposal by the South Sudan government to allow its students to pay similar tuition fees like Ugandans in public universities.
The Inter-University Council for East Africa is currently working on a standard tuition fees structure, which member states will be required to endorse before it is effected.