Pioneer Uganda varsity to recall fake degrees

Uganda's pioneer Makerere University has embarked on a comprehensive academic audit aimed at recalling undeserved degrees.

The exercise involves examining marks of students over the past several years, to identify the certificates obtained on the basis of forged or altered results.

Investigations by the Daily Monitor show that Dr Damalie Naggitta-Musoke, the former dean of the School of Law, was heading the inquiries being conducted by what is officially called the central ad hoc examinations, irregularities and malpractices committee.

It began its work last November.

The sensitivity

However, a staggering mismatch unearthed between results submitted by colleges and schools and final scores released by the Office of the Academic Registrar prompted the university to stretch the investigation to cover the past five years.

Sources familiar with the investigations told the Daily Monitor on condition of anonymity owing to the sensitivity of the matter, that at the School of Law, results awarded even a decade ago were being reviewed.

According to two other sources, a former minister who obtained a graduate degree in Public Administration and a number of Members of Parliament as well as high-flying professionals, would likely to be affected.

The Naggitta-Musoke committee has in its preliminary report linked the disparities to students’ results being altered at Senate level after lecturers and college and school registrars’ submissions.

Examination scores

Ahead of last February graduation, some lecturers at the last minute alerted authorities that ineligible students had been cleared, prompting the university management to remove names of 50 graduands from the graduation booklet and block conferment of degrees on them.

The university withheld transcripts of thousands more out of the 14,000 who graduated, pending verification of their results. Without transcripts, many of the affected alumni have had problems applying for scholarships or jobs.

The unearthing of the anomalies prompted the suspension of six staff in the Office of the Academic Registrar, and they remain under police investigation.

Weeks after the graduation, Makerere in March closed the online marks system and suspended the issuance of academic transcripts. The online marks system was being used to enter and store student’s examination scores.

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