“It’s not business as usual, I am faced with the unprecedented challenges of raising tuition. I can’t pay tuition as my income has dropped drastically. I lost market for my agricultural produces due to restrictions on markets and public transport. I see myself living without a concrete future because the financial difficulties won’t permit me enroll for my university studies,”
The quote is from Tabitha Kamayangi, a student of Bachelor of Information Science and Technology at Valley University in Bushenyi district Southwestern Uganda.
With the new academic year beginning in November, Kamayangi’s hopes to continue her studies at the university are diminishing away because of the COVID-19 impacts on economic circumstances.
In a conversation with Daily Express, the 26-year-old female student could not hold back her tears explaining her struggles to raise tuition fees single-handedly followed by other basic needs. In 2nd year, she predicts dropping out of school but is worried about living into academic debt without a concrete future.
Before the pandemic, Tabitha would raise tuition from sales obtained in her small run Orchard farm and coffee plantations located in Omunjeru cell, Rwentuha Ward, Igara East county Bushenyi district. She explains that the market for fruits has been greatly affected by the pandemic thus lesser earnings.
“After all possible attempts to acquire money to top up on my meagre earnings, I have decided to rise and expose my wearies to this challenge and to let all kind people to know what I am experiencing and reach out to me for academic support. Perhaps now more than ever,” she said breaking down in tears.
The young lady who pays for her own tuition and provides own basic necessities said the area member of parliament, Hon. Micheal Mawanda who she works for as the Political Personal Secretary in the constituency pays for her 50 percent of the tuition, and then she uses her meagre earnings to top up the remaining balances. Given the unavoidable financial hardships, however, her side hustles can no longer cater for her acadmic needs something likely to force her out of school.
The economic downturn linked to the corona virus has exposed the challenges facing higher education in Uganda, and lack of support offered for students in most universities is becoming a key issue for management against the pandemic backdrop.
A number of students like Kamayangi who have been running small scale businesses to source their tuition are likely to miss out their education since they can no longer afford to pay the high tuition and other requirements to enrol their studies.
Because of the pandemic coupled with financial crisis, many private universities have cut off on the special scholarships and bursaries provided to students. This implies that the survival of students in universities is expected to scale down stemming even higher the dropout rates.
Kamayangi appeals to Non-Government Organisations, Education humanitarians, and any individuals to reach out to her with financial support to allow her complete her university studies.
Any financial, spiritual and emotional support can be wired via her MTN Mobile number: 0777082168 and through Finance Trust Bank: Account No: 401225000245. Account Name: KAMAYANGI TABITHA.