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Bukalasa Agricultural College Students Shun Classes

On Tuesday, over 1,800 students led by their Guild President, Ernest Ayen staged a strike protesting the poor sanitary conditions at the college, lack of practical lessons and lack of value for the high tuition charged at the college.
25 Sep 2019 18:27
Students at Bukalasa Agricultural College in Luweero district have declined to return to class following a strike.

On Tuesday, over 1,800 students led by their Guild President, Ernest Ayen staged a strike protesting the poor sanitary conditions at the college, lack of practical lessons and lack of value for the high tuition charged. 

Police responded by firing teargas to quell the strike and arrested the Guild President Ernest Ayen.

The College Administrators, Guild representatives and Police met and requested the students to resume studies as the issues are handled.

On Wednesday, the students refused to return to classes and were seen loitering around the campus.The students instead threatened to shun classes unless their grievances are addressed and the Guild President is released unconditionally.

Police maintained vigilance at the college to avert another possible violent strike.

The Bukalasa Agricultural College Principal, Gelvan Kisolo Lule said some of the issues that include emptying and renovating the toilets are being addressed while other grievances were not genuine.

Kisolo says that students have a module on-farm practical and was being taught, but they established that the learners were confusing it with other practicals.

Kisolo adds that in the meeting, the students asked for immediate release of Guild President Ernest Ayen. He, however, says that it is a Police matter and they don't want to influence investigations. 

He, however, noted that a meeting involving the Luweero Resident District Commissioner Phoebe Namulindwa, Police and students is planned on Thursday to forge a way forward on the matter.

Isaac Kushaba the Officer in Charge of Luweero Central Police station says that that Police has preferred charges of malicious damage and inciting violence against the Guild President.

Kushaba says that they are also still at the college monitoring the security and ready to engage the student who attempt to strike again.

He adds that have advised the college administrators to close the school if students refuse to study.

The students who preferred anonymity for fear of reprimand insisted that they want the school administrators and Police to release the Guild President before they enter into talks on how to resume studies or the strike will continue.

Others insisted that they needed the attention of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to explain to him the rot at the college since the college administrators have repeatedly promised them to address the grievances in vain.

The Guild President Ernest Ayen applied for police bond on Wednesday but Police has declined to honour the request insisting that they were still investigating the case and need to consult the College administrators on the matter. Ayen was further put back in Police cells at Luweero Central Police station.

Earlier on the students had vowed to carry on the strike for week till all the issues are addressed.

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