Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Gulu College of Health Sciences will reopen next week, two weeks after it was closed following a strike.
On September 9, more than 300 students of the College protested against the new fees structure levied by Management. According to the structure, Diploma certificate private-sponsored students are supposed to pay 2.5 million and 2.2 million Shillings for 1st and 2nd semesters respectively, while Government aided students would pay 1.47 million and 1.27 million Shillings.
This prompted Jean Babalanda, the College Principal to seek the intervention of Police who fired teargas to disperse the students to avert any dangers.
In her letter dated September 24 to parents and guardians, Babalanda said she has received a directive from the Ministry of Education and Sports to re-open the College on Thursday next week for continuing and finalist students.
“Each student is advised to report with enough hand sanitiser, cloth masks, gloves, and medical masks for personal use while in classrooms, on the compound, in hostels and clinical areas,” Babalanda’s letter read in part.
Babalanda also explained that a consent form has been sent to the parents and guardians to sign with the students, which will be required on the reporting day.
The closure of the school was condemned by legislators from Acholi who included Betty Aol Ocan, the Gulu City Woman MP and Gilbert Olanay (Kilak South) and John Amos Oko (Agago South) under their umbrella body, the Acholi Parliamentary Group – APG.
The MPs visited the College and later presented the matter on the floor of Parliament as a matter of urgent importance, and sought the response from, the State Minister for Higher Education, John Chrysostom Muyingo.
In his response, Muyingo said the unrest at the College started in June with students protesting fees hike and poor feeding and he deployed staff from the Ministry to investigate the students’ grievances and bring the impasse to an end.
Gulu College of Health Sciences is a Government institution established in the 1950s as a midwifery school to train students in medical research and the health system. The school is transiting to an allied health Institution training producing professional health officers.
The College was transformed into a school for enrolled nurses and midwives in the 1970’s and later a school for Medical Assistants in the early 1980s. It remained a school for Clinical Officers until 2016 when Diplomas in Public Health Dentistry, Pharmacy, Health Service Management and Anesthesia were introduced.