Kampala. An internal Makerere University probe has confirmed that at least 418 students illegally altered their marks to get better grades, Daily Monitor has learnt.
The students, in the report not yet public, engaged in the fraud either with the help of their colleagues or in connivance with university officials.
The findings contained in a report titled â€œA report on alteration of marks in Makerere Universityâ€ show that some individuals hack into the results system by accessing rights for examination coordinators, school or college registrars.
â€œThe vice of illegal alteration of marks involves a wider racket of hackers within the university that have connections to networks outside the university; in Uganda and beyond,â€ the report reads in part.
â€œThe committee came across anecdotal information that change of a studentâ€™s final mark from a lower mark that is not necessarily a retake to a higher mark in order to improve the cumulative grade point average,â€ the report adds.
For instance, it was found out that although 62 students were not eligible for graduation, they appeared in the January 2015 graduation booklet while 356 students were discovered before the graduation ceremony and removed.
Among the colleges with students whose marks were altered included Computing and Information Science with 24 cases. The College of Natural Sciences had 12 cases, nine students from School of Law and College of Education.
â€œAlthough their names were removed from the list, it does not exonerate them from being suspects in the illegal act of falsifying marks and ought to be punished if found guilty,â€ the committee notes.
â€œThe report contains concrete evidence that there are a number of instances in which illegal changes have taken place. Some of the beneficiaries of altered marks confessed to having had their results changed although they could not provide substantial evidence leading to the perpetrators,â€ the report points out.
In an interview, Prof John Ssentamu Ddumba, the university vice chancellor, said the Senate had adopted the report and given it to relevant units for more verification.
â€œThe report is out. It was presented to Senate and adopted. It has been given to the appropriate committees to study it further and come up with recommendations,â€ Prof Ddumba said.
Look out for university officials implicated in tomorrowâ€™s edition.
The committee work
The probe into the examination malpractice was commissioned last year on November 13 after complaints from heads of department and college principals that names of some students who didnâ€™t meet the minimum qualifications had found their way on the 65th graduation list.
The seven member probe committee was headed by Ms Venny Nakazibwe. Other members include Mr John Ngubiri, Ms Bernadette Nambi-Karuhanga, Ms Rose Nakayi, Mr Frank Kitumba, and Mr Tony Oluka, among others.
Their terms of reference was to review some records of departments, colleges, boards of examiners, appeals, and identify beneficiaries of illegal marks for further investigations and identify levels at which the changes of marks take place.
Scope of probe
The committee had initially planned to investigate cases in a scope of 10 years for the period 2004 to 2014. The data retrieved and analysed would have to be compared with hard copy results in all colleges in order to sieve out the persons that are suspected to have benefited from illegal changes of marks.
â€¢Change of a studentâ€™s retake mark to a higher pass mark.
â€¢Inserting a new record marked as a retake course as a second attempt. In this case, the student doesnâ€™t even sit for the examination.
â€¢Change of a second or third attempt of a mark to a higher mark and awarding a student a fictitious third failed mark to enable him/her qualify for a conceded pass.
Number of students who altered their results at the College of Business and Management Science.
Number of students who altered their results at the college of Engineering design, art and technology.
Number of students with altered marks at the School of Applied Statistics and Planning.
-Adapted from Daily Monitor