Mbarara. Matters worsen at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) as the university management maintains on graduating a student with arts’ background which promotes academic fraud and rise of quack doctors in hospitals.
Ms Edith Wakida, a student with arts background is going for a doctoral defense thesis in the department of psychiatry in this month of March.
This all started last year (2019) during an emergency joint assembly meeting when staff members exposed Edith Wakida a private employee and personal friend of the Vice Chancellor, professor Celestino Obua as holding a bachelor’s degree in industrial and fine arts of Makerere university who was about to graduate with a Ph.D. in Medical psychiatry at MUST.
This terrified most of the staff members who got shocked on how one would graduate with PhD in psychiatry without any science background.
Prof. Gertrude Kiwanuka- Dean faculty of medicine confirmed that Ms. Edith Wakida was admitted to the faculty of medicine before she even became the dean.
Kiwanuka added that the student (candidate) was illegally admitted by the university admissions’ committee.
Prof. Kiwanuka said the female student was admitted under the influence of her husband Dr. Godfrey Zari Rukundo who heads the psychiatry department at MUST.
“I find myself in the office of the Dean with a student just like all the other students in the faculty because of the conflict of interest in the sense that Ms. Wakida is a wife to head of department for psychiatric (Dr. Godfrey Rukundo) who at the same time chairs meetings for her assessment” said Kiwanuka then.
After the matter circulated on the streets of Mbarara and in other higher education offices, the university top management disclaimed the plans of the arts student Edith Wakida to attain a PhD in psychiatry.
And in a press release published in Saturday vision dated July, 27 2019, management of MUST confirmed that Ms Wakida was admitted for a doctor of philosophy of Mbarara University of Science and Technology and not psychiatry as earlier submitted.
Then the Director of Research and Graduate Training Associate (DRGT) Prof Vincent Batwala cleared the air saying that the alleged student (Wakida) has not yet completed the Doctor of Philosophy and has not yet been presented for graduation as was earlier alleged in the statement co signed by the university Academic Regestrar Ms Martha Kyoshaba whose term of office ends this August.
This annoyed Ms Wakida who was in August up for the graduation come October 2019 and she threatened to file a civil suit against the University for blocking her from graduating.
However, in a letter dated September 3, 2019 got by this website, Prof Batwala-the director in charge of Graduate research and training writes to the deputy vice chancellor in charge of academic affairs Assoc. Prof Nickson Kamukama recommending the said student to be transferred to any of the other three faculties away from Medicine to ease the tension the matter was raising and would consequently be able to still graduate in October 2019.
“Whereas it has not been possible to assess the thesis in the clinical departments there are other departments within the university where the examination can be handled so that she completes her doctoral programme”, wrote prof. Batwala.
“The DRGT board therefore recommended transfer of the student to Department of Governance and Planning in Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies” read part of the document.
Some of the other units cited fit for the arts student include; Department of Educational Foundations and Psychology in the Faculty of Science and the Department of Community Health in the Faculty of Medicine.
“Therefore this letter serves to recommend that the student be transferred to any of the above departments to handle the examination process of her PhD work.” Writes the DRGT director.
Another illegality landed on is that the said student was admitted in 2017 and was to graduate in 2019 less than the required time of three years for a PhD.
Controversies kept on until Monday March 02, 2020 when the Dean faculty of Medicine Prof. Gertrude Kiwanuka surprisingly pinned official information on the university notice board confirming that Ms. Edith Wakida will defend her doctoral thesis under the department of psychiatry on March 19, 2020.
“The forum is open to the public and all interested faculty, staff and students are all invited to attend” read the notice
Mbarara University of science and technology Academic Staff Association (MUSTASA) General secretary Mr.Julius Taremwa blamed the illegal unethical retaliations on the power of connivance and conspiracy by the top management and heads of departments to admit fake doctors into the university because they can pay tuition.
He added that the alleged student was at first denied both admission and ethical review from Makerere University. MUST also denied her ethical review prompting a section of Top Management to help her acquire ethical approval from Gulu University, a matter that has still shocked many how she manovoured it.
“It’s true she tried MUST but in vain and now went to pick one from Makerere but they also denied and now went to Guru University which is away from the western institutional jurisdiction. And I am not sure if students admitted to Gulu University can seek ethical approval from Mbarara University” Said one of the senior staff members.
At MUST Ms Wakida serves as the head of unknown outfit called Office of ResearchAdministration (ORA).
Mr. Taremwa also wants the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) to investigate its sponsored students in Africa.
“By the way, SIDA needs to save its sponsored students because the academic registrar and Ms Edith Wakida are part of the students sponsored by SIDA yet they are not academic staff to benefit from such scholarships.” he speaks
Taremwa is also worried about how the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) remains silent on such an important matter of academic integrity that can cause harm to the medical students despite several letters written to them on this matter boarding on academic fraud.
We tried to speak to the Director of Research and Graduate Training Associate (DRGT) Prof Vincent Batwala who denied all the allegations about the illegal admission of an arts student to another course.
He pointed that the student is pursuing a PhD in the Department of Governance and Planning in faculty of interdisciplinary studies not psychiatry as many alarmed which is now a lie.
“Yes the student is pursuing a PhD and her course hasn’t ended she is completing it in 2020 those speaking are saying their own things they are not aware. With the student going for thesis defense you are actually giving me information” Batwala charged!
We also tried the academic registrar Ms.Martha Kyoshaba, who responded that she can’t discuss matters concerning any of her students on phone.