The Department of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University may have to wait a bit longer for any first class degree after students performed badly in the recently released exams for semester 1 academic year 2017/2018.
According to the provisional results released yesterday by Mr Wilson Kaija, the examinations’ coordinator at the department, at least 80 per cent of the students failed one of the three core course units.
The terrible performance by students worries many at the department as lecturers’ hope of seeing any first class at the department is rapidly vanishing.
In the released results, the most failed paper was writing skills, a core course unit that prepares students for newspaper writing and related publications.
According to the admission list, the department admitted 34 students on government sponsorship but according to the results sheet 21 of them at least have retakes.
Other students on the day programme but on private sponsorship performed slightly well compared to their counterparts on government scholarships.
Nevertheless, students on evening programme whose performance is worrying, blame lecturers for absenteeism and combining them with those on day programme during day time yet many of them work for their tuition. Out of the 46 students on the programme, only 10 survived getting a retake.
Over the years, the department has produced notable writers, Photojournalists and broadcasters; however, lecturers say they have never received students like these ones.
The department of Journalism and Communication admits law pre-entry failures and others with performance in Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education – UACE, meaning that it admits cream students as it leads with highest cut-off points in the whole College of Humanities and Social Sciences – Chuss.
However, ever since the course was re-branded to four years, the department was hit with a desert of first class degrees despite admitting cream students.
Ms Brenda Namata, a first year evening class leader blames the department for not teaching them but to give hard questions. She added that question interpretation failed her class members.
Ms Harriet Sebaana, the Journalism and Communication course coordinator said the department plans to re-orient first year students for a lasting solution to their problems.
She added that journalism at Makerere not like other courses is a profession where students are exposed to very many disciplines.
Speaking to Dr William Tayeebwa, the head of Department of Journalism and communication, said that students failed to balance university excitements and books while many show little interest in the programme.
“We are considering to phase out evening programme starting with the next [2018/2019] so that we can concentrate well on daytime students.” he added.