Makerere University’s new Vice Chancellor, Prof. Venansious Baryamureeba has rolled out a new plan for the University in the New Year.
Speaking to journalists on Monday, Prof. Baryamureeba said the University will be, among others, opening two new campuses in two districts for students who cannot afford to study in Kampala where the main University campus is located.
Daily Monitor’s Katherine Haywood transcribed what Prof. Baryamureeba said.
Makerere University will officially open two campuses up country. It may not be an official opening ceremony, but on the 30th of this month students are going to start their studies at the campus at Fort Portal, and another campus in Jinja.
The campus in Jinja is going to run a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Bachelor of Information Technology, Bachlor of Law, Bachelor of Development Studies and Bachelor of Tourism. The campus in Fort Portal is going to run a Bachelor in Commerce, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Surveying, Bachelor of Science in Land Economics, Bachelor of Science in Conceptual Economics, and Bachelor of Science in Business Statistics.
As you realize these are very prominent courses as Makerere University and they are on high demand. Those with sons and daughters who cannot afford higher accommodation in Kampala can now take their sons and daughters up-country.
We are recruiting staff to run these campuses but we are also going to take some of the staff from Makerere University to go to these campuses up-country. The teaching is going to be the same, the assessment is going to be the same, the exam is going to be the same and the students will get the same degree. The degree will not indicate Fort Portal campus or Jinja campus. The students will start at the same time and end at the same time. The only thing is that the location will be different and this is one way the University can be taken to the people. So with the national backbone in place we intend to link up these campuses through the optical fibre network, so that we can use video conferencing for lectures from the main campus. But from the beginning there will be teaching from all campuses.
Students to engage in community work
Secondly, the projects our students are going to be engaged in will be community based. Since they are doing B-Comm, most of the assignments are going to come from the community. They’ll have to work on books of accounts from NGOs, women organizations, even local primary and secondary schools as part of their work. So these students are going to have the opportunity to really engage in real projects from the community that is around them. So the students and staff are really going to support the community.
New courses on service delivery
We are also going to start other courses that are so critical in service delivery. There will be courses in nursing, whereby the doctors and professionals that will be teaching these courses will also be working in the local health centres in the area of service delivery like consultation. And again, through medicine, we will link up these courses with the main Faculty of Health Sciences of Makerere University so that we can have consultations down the line that support the community. That is the second item on the agenda.
Improved government relations and more funding
I also wanted to update you on university/ government relations. I wanted to begin by saying that over the period of the last three months we have seen university/ government relations improve. The President of Uganda at the end of October came and visited the Department of Food Science and Technology and pledged his support. Part of that support is already given for research and more support is coming next year to support food processing in the department.
On December 28th last year, the Department of Technology, accompanied by the Vice Chancellor, the Minister of Education and Sports and her staff, The Minister of ICT and his staff, the Executive Director of the Ugandan Communications Commission, and the Executive Director of the National Commission for [can’t hear], the Minister of Finance and also a representative from Uganda’s National Research Institute met with the President, where again, he reiterated his commitment to support for science and technology.
The government is going to provide support for the Faculty of Technology over a period of 5 years, to the tune of about USh25 billion, but with USh9 billion coming in the next financial year. That was as a result of the visit.
New hope for Makerere University staff
On the 12th December the President met with Makerere University academic staff – that is MUASA – where we discussed lots of issues. He promised to look into the plight of staff at Makerere University and other institutions, especially in science and technology. We also discussed issues of revamping our estates and how the government can help us generate some more money so we can be self-sustaining. MUASA, through its forum, will be informing you of the details of the meeting.
More government support
There is an upcoming visit of the President this New Year to the Faculty of Computing and IT and the Faculty of Science, again to look at areas where the government can come in. The government, in short, is trying to emphasise science and technology training and innovation and we will work with the government to add value.
That is why the government has moved the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to partner with the Faculty of Veterinary Science. The government has set aside one square kilometer of land in Kiboga district to organize activities for Veterinary Science at Makerere University. So we are going to be having joint projects on that farm.
Partnership with government ministries
Again, at the University, we have agreed that every faculty at Makerere University in the next three months will have a viable partnership with their corresponding government department or ministry and many Faculties have already started on that. So we really want to partner with the government, we want to support and compliment government programmes. I also want the government to compliment us, especially in the areas where we need critical resources like laboratory equipment and others including motivating staff.
So we are not only looking at the President in forming relations with government. Through all these ministerial partnerships we are going to be interfacing so much with government ministries and partners. For us at the University at the top level we are going to be working very closely with the Minister of Education and Sports and the Minister of Finance, Planning and Development – because those are key ministries . But the Faculties are also going to work with all the other government ministries, and programmes.
NIC Vs MUK
The other issue I wanted to update you with, an issue that has been in the media recently, which we may call DAP – the Deposit Administration Plan – and this is the money Makerere University has with NIC.
What I can state is that the issue of DAP has been on: you’ve written about it in the media for some time, and it is in the interests of everybody that this issue can be resolved. As I speak now, the Insurance Commission a few weeks ago agreed to a forensic audit on the operations of the DAP fund and the cost of this forensic audit is going to be financed by both Makerere University and National Insurance Corporation. The need for the forensic audit is to establish how much money NIC owes Makerere University because we have not as of today agreed on the figure that NIC owes Makerere University.
MUK to set up own pension scheme
The other issue I would like to mention is that at the time when Makerere University agreed to deposit this money for people who are retiring into NIC, NIC was owned by the government 100%. Now, at the same time, government was the guarantor for the money that the University was depositing with NIC. But now the government is pulling out, so we think it is important that we also review the situation. The different university bodies already started on this negotiation when the government sold 60% of its shares. The consensus was that we look at how we can work out a repayment plan and get out of NIC and set up our own scheme. Now, as you are aware, NIC has listed on the Securities Exchange. But Makerere University up to now does not have a prospectus of NIC. We don’t know what they disclosed and what they didn’t disclose.
Negotiations to begin
Secondly, to the best of my knowledge, we have not been invited to any of these functions. And Makerere University, as you know, as much as we have this money with them, and as much as we have been trying to get out information, you never know that if we came to know that NIC is a good body, in future we could invest in NIC. So we should be invited to these functions. Some members of Makerere University had to try to find their own way there. I want to say that we don’t want to engage in a kind of barbarian way, but we have a team at Makerere University that are going to negotiate with NIC and government and we also have the council committee on retirement benefits that represents the University.
We have the board of trustees and other University bodies that can channel their views through those two formal bodies. We are committed to working with both NIC and government so we are going to negotiate with both bodies. Our hope is that the government lists their 40% of the shares on the Securities Exchange. The proceeds out of that money should be prioritised towards paying Makerere University so it can get out of NIC. But the repayment plan is to be negotiated with both NIC and government.
I’d like to inform you that the ceremony is on. It’s going to start on January 18 and end on January 22 2010. On the first day we shall have his Excellency the President of Uganda attend the ceremony and at the same ceremony the President will be Honored with an Honorary Doctorate of law from Makerere University for his distinguished service to this country, Uganda, and the region.
Transcripts to be issued on Graduation Day
The other item I would like to update you on is the issue of the transcripts, which has been in the media for a long time. I’m glad to inform you that as parents and graduates come to the graduation ceremony, all the 13,178 transcripts will be ready. However, as I speak now, only 6,429 students who are expected to graduate have cleared with the university. Clearance means that if you took a book from the library have you returned it. If you lost it, have you paid for it? Have you cleared your tuition fees? If you damaged university property, have you cleared? You have to clear. So it’s only 6,429 that have cleared so far. What we are saying all the transcripts will be ready. So far we have produced 8,502 transcripts and the remaining are going to be produced this week. They are all ready. The question is will we give everybody a transcript? The answer is no. We are only going to give those that have cleared for a transcript. Those that have not cleared will come back after graduation, clear and then pick their transcripts. If you give everybody their transcripts for the sake of giving everyone, then the university will lose. And we cannot do that.
British company to make certificates
Certificates are produced after the transcripts are ready. In the coming week we have a company who is contracted in the UK to make the certificates. When we have the complete information on the transcripts we are going to pass the information on to them, and they have promised in two weeks all the certificates and grades will be sent back to us. So the certificates are no longer produced locally here because we want tight security features on these certificates so that when you try to forge one you are not able to succeed. This company does work all over Europe and Africa. It is a known company and its name is Smith and Osman. They are only waiting for us to pass over the information, which will be the class of degree, the bio data and the degree.