Issuance of Transcripts on Graduation Day Remains a Dream for Makerere

Makerere University Vice-Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe has stated that the plan to issue academic transcripts either on or prior to graduation day may not be possible in the near future.

Nawangwe had earlier promised to streamline the process for obtaining clearance and ensuring that graduates receive their transcripts on the day of graduation. But today, he acknowledged the difficulties the university faces in processing and issuing transcripts before graduation, including obtaining the necessary materials for transcripts.

Nevertheless, he added efforts are being made to ensure that transcripts are available a month after graduation. Prof. Nawangwe made the comments during a speech to the hundreds of students who attended the first day of Makerere University’s 73rd graduation ceremony.

But his statement caused disappointment among the graduating students, who had hoped that progress would be made in this area. For a long time, students at Makerere University have expressed frustration with the lengthy process of obtaining their academic transcripts and certificates after graduation, leading many to abandon these important documents.

By November 2022, Makerere University had accumulated over 100,000 uncollected transcripts and certificates from recent graduates, prompting the university management to host a two-week public fair for students to retrieve their documents. This fair will be held annually, according to Professor Nawangwe.

Despite the ongoing efforts to fulfill their commitment, Professor Nawangwe noted that the university has successfully streamlined the process for collecting academic documents. According to him, a student will now only require clearance with the finance department and university library.

Previously, students who wanted to obtain their transcripts had to obtain clearance from multiple offices, including the Dean of Students, Guild President, College Registrar, College Bursar, University Library, University Hospital, Makerere Police Post, Games Union, and the Hall of Residence.

In a previous interview with URN, Professor Nawangwe explained that the university faced challenges after transitioning from the Academic Information Management System (AIMS) to the Academic Management Information System (ACMIS), which was implemented by the government. He stated that the transfer of all student data from the old system to the new system was complicated, as the new system was unable to recognize some of the information.

However, the issuance of transcripts on graduation day has occurred at least once in the history of Makerere University. In 2010, Professor Venansius Baryamureeba, while serving as Acting Vice Chancellor, initiated the process, but it was later discontinued due to resistance from the Transcripts office.

When Professor John Ddumba Ssentamu became Vice Chancellor in 2012, the practice was discontinued. The university officially stated that some students were bypassing the system to obtain transcripts without proper qualifications.

Meanwhile, Speaker after speaker provided guidance to the students who will soon enter the workforce, offering advice to help them navigate the challenges of employment after graduation in their respective fields.

The university chancellor, Prof Ezra Suruma, reminded them that they face a future that none can foresee or foretell. Narrating to them his personal story, Suruma encouraged them to have hope even amidst affliction.  

Wendy Thomson, the Vice Chancellor of the University of London, who was a special guest at this year’s graduation ceremony, could not fail to remind the graduates that they are entering a challenging world.

Thomson, whose university played a role in the establishment of Makerere –  as a college of the University of London, reminded the graduates that they are citizens of one of the poorest nations, but she gave them hope that they have the ability to reshape their nation and make it better.

Janet Kataha Museveni, the Minister of Education and Sports and the chief guest at the graduation ceremony delivered a speech broadcast from State House Nakasero. In her speech, she encouraged the graduates to use their knowledge and skills for the betterment of society.

Ms. Museveni also urged the newly formed University Council to work towards improving the standards of Makerere University by providing students with the necessary resources and tools to address societal issues such as sexual perversion, HIV/AIDS, and corruption.   

On the first day of the graduation ceremonies, two Colleges and one School- the College of Health Science, the College of Natural Sciences, and the School of Law – presented their graduates for degree conferral. 

A total of 13,221 people are expected to graduate by the end of the ceremonies, which will run until Friday. The graduates include 6809 (52 percent) females and 6412 (48 percent) males. 102 of these graduates are expected to receive PhDs and 1,378 will receive Master’s degrees.         

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