It seems there’s trouble afoot at Makerere University, Uganda’s beacon of higher education. The vice-chancellor, Barnabas Nawangwe, has shone a light on a rather concerning trend: a spike in student dropouts, all fingers pointing at sports betting as the culprit. About 1,000 students each year are waving goodbye to their academic aspirations, not due to the usual financial struggles, but because they’ve gambled away their tuition fees on sports betting.

In a revelation that’s caught many by surprise, Nawangwe disclosed, “We dug a little deeper and discovered it wasn’t a matter of not having the cash. These students actually had their fees in hand but thought they’d try their luck with betting to grow their funds,” as reported by the Daily Monitor.

It turns out that some of these students have been leading double lives, convincing their parents of their academic prowess while skipping classes in pursuit of quick betting wins. This charade often continues until the harsh reality hits during graduation ceremonies, when their names are noticeably absent from the roll call.

The vice-chancellor’s words shed light on a growing issue within the university and beyond, highlighting tales of students ensnared by the allure of betting, with some even resorting to extreme measures. In a particularly dramatic incident last May, a student supposedly staged his own kidnapping after betting away his tuition, later found hiding out in the Iganga district.

This series of events at Makerere University opens up a wider conversation on the impact of sports betting on students’ lives and their education, calling for a deeper look into how to curb this growing trend.

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