Mubende- After running the officers’ cadet course for nearly 28 years, the Uganda Military Academy at Kabamba will, beginning 2017/18 academic year, offer a degree programme.
Speaking at the commissioning of officer cadets at Kabamba in Mubende District on Friday, President Museveni said introducing a degree programme in Defence and Security Studies is inevitable given the increased demand for skills in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
Kabamba would become the second UPDF institution after the University of Military Science and Technology, also known as Lugazi National Defence University in Lugazi, Buikwe District, to offer degree courses.
Mr Museveni commissioned 299 officer cadets, who included 35 women, 35 air force cadets and two cadets trained from the British military royal college of Sandhurst to man Uganda air space.
“We have been offering a one-year course for our officer cadets and this time, we intend to change to a three-year course to award degrees in Defence and Security [Studies] because the demand for our courses is growing tremendously,” Mr Museveni said.
Mr Museveni said the current topics taught, including the political economy of Uganda and East Africa, colonialism, political education, theory of military service, tactics, using communication gadgets, fundamentals of officers training, skills at arms, and battle fitness are too compressed to fit within the one-year time frame.
“We are going to expand this to three years’ course and transform this into a university such that our graduates would also be awarded degrees,” Mr Museveni added.
He said the UPDF also intends to construct secondary and primary schools in every major barracks in the country to cater for education of the children of soldiers.
He said the UPDF also needs more modern boats on lakes Albert, Victoria and Edward not only to fight insecurity but also illegal fishing.
“I am glad the UPDF is no longer getting fresh recruits to train as cadets but it is training its own staff to upgrade. I think this is a good move that is going to encourage the young officers,” said Mr Museveni.
The State minister for Defence, Maj Bright Rwamirama, said they intend to turn Kabamba into a centre of excellence on the African continent to offer degrees in Defence and Security Studies and Engineering.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, applauded Kabamba for sustaining the officers’ cadet programmes for close to 30 years, saying it has helped turn UPDF soldiers into a professional army. Gen Wamala urged the new cadets to uphold the values UPDF as cherished over the three decades.
Senior army officers, Mubende District leaders and delegations from neighbouring districts, as well as parents, relatives and friends of the graduands attended the colourful ceremony at Kabamba.