Nursing students strike over meals, registration fees

Students of the School of Comprehensive nursing in Masaka district are on peaceful strike to protest over poor quality of meals and high registration fees.

On Thursday, the students rejected to eat lunch and supper offered by the school saying the quality of food is lacking with beans containing weevils and poor grade posho.

Some of the students  camped in compound protesting the bad food, something that  forced staff to flee school premises for fear of being attacked by the bitter students.

The school’s guild speaker Stephan Katabaazi said that students are facing various challenges apart from the bad meals, but also that they are tired of poor sanitation in the school, lack of security, and several cases of tutors failing to show up while classes are supposed to be ongoing.

On Tuesday April 15, the students were given up Friday April 20 as the period within which to pay Shs 120,000 in registration fees to Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examinations Board (UNMEB) before they can seat for their exams, which many say could have led to the protest.
The students say they were ambushed by the fees.

“The administration sat on the information only to make a communication on Tuesday this week that by Friday all students have to be paid up,” Katabaazi said.

Students claim that they come from poor families which cannot raise the shs20,000 in two days.

Katabaazi says that the students have decided to suspend their services at wards in Masaka regional referral hospital, attending classes and eating food until their grievances are addressed by the administration.

The Guild Secretary Joweria Nakirija, notes that students pay several fees to the school which are not accounted for which makes sponsoring  a nursing student at Masaka school very expensive compared to other nursing schools in the country.

“We pay for development, examination fees, utility, Uganda nurse’s students association, curriculums, and field fees activities among other fees which are not accounted for,” Nakirijja says adding that they raised their concerns to the responsible persons but all in vain.

Efforts to get a comment from the school principle, Mark Kalanzi were in vain by press time.

However, the Masaka Resident District Commissioner Joe Walusimbi, says that they have asked the students to stay calm until the principle who is currently in Kampala comes back to Masaka to address student’s issues.

He says that the student’s concerns are genuine adding that they have asked the permanent secretary and the line ministry to intervene and lift the deadline that was put on the registration fees deadline.