Friday, November 11, 2005

Campus is burning

The campusers are at it again. Torching vehicles, breaking windows, setting up roadblocks all over the place and terrorising hapless motorists- and yes, getting shot at by the riot cops. And what is the problem this time you might ask. Those administrators have gone and raised the examination fees.

It is very unfortunate the way these university officials go about increasing fees all the time. This time they have increased the retake fee (fee paid to redo an exam one has failed) from 6k to 180k. Jesus Christ, a whooping 3,000%. Now I can understand why these lads (and lasses) are pissed off. Apparently this was announced without any warnings given.

This university thing is getting so damn expensive. It seems I was lucky to get out before it became to hot. Tuition going through the roof every year, all manner of extra payments conjured up by the admin whenever they feel like, its terrible.

Having said that why do these chaps have to go and wreck stuff every time they are not amused. This is part of the reason they are always paying more. You torch a building; the university has to rebuild it. Where is the money to rebuild coming from? Your tuition, stupid. The next semester they will need more money to rebuild the students will get pissed off again and its is one needless vicious cycle.

To be fair to the nice boys and girls of Makerere, most of the time these riots start out as peaceful, but loud, demonstrations until some lumpens throw a spanner in the works by hurling projectiles at the Vice-Chancellor’s home, office, the senate building or whatever takes their fancy. Then the riot cops are called in and the party begins in earnest, running battles, teargas canisters and all.

What surprises me is why these riots have become so frequent in the last 5 years. I recall in the 90’s there were only about 3 riots (I may be corrected since I joined Makerere at the tail end of that decade) and I dare say with the exception of the one that resulted in the clearing and renaming of Northcote, they were based on serious grievances. These days a year does not go by without one serious riot.

The upside to all this (fee hike not the riot) is that, hopefully, the campusers are going to get a bit more serious with their studies so as not to retake any exams. You don’t want to piss dad off anymore by demanding for dimes to resit the exam. This should result in less campusers at Steakout on Super Tuesday so that the rest of us can enjoy the night long happy hour in less crowded environs.

No comments: