Kyambogo University is in the final stages of hiring Cuban professors, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Eli Katunguka, has said .
While meeting the ambassador of Cuba to Uganda yesterday at the university, Prof Katunguka said the university has only three professors out of the required 37.
He said in 2018, they tried to recruit new professors from within the country in vain.
“Some students from the engineering department and sciences do not want to be teachers. I think they are earning more in their profession than in the teaching field. This has created shortage in those fields and as the university, we could not sit and look on,” he said.
The university’s director of human resource, Mr Richard Manano, said in 2018, Kyambogo University signed a collaboration agreement with the Cuban Ministry of Higher Education to recruit academic staff.
He said the Cuban Ministry of Higher Education sent the curriculum vitaes (CVs) of 16 academic staff from Cuban universities in 2019 and the data of applicants was forwarded to faculties and schools.
He said of the 16 academic staff they were presented, nine had PhDs. The rest had Masters.
The nine professors are experts in science and pedagogy, chemical engineering, chemistry, technical science, physics, and mathematics.
“The reports from the department and faculty are due to be presented to the top management and subsequent to the appointments board for consideration. By December, the process to recruit the nine professors will be done,” Mr Munano said.
The university will thus require an extra Shs1.9b to employ the Cuban professors if they are to earn the Shs15.6m paid to Ugandan professors.
Prof Katunguka said they are slated to write to the Ministry of Finance for additional money to pay the Cuban professors.
He said they will be given allowances for transport, housing, water and electricity in addition to the salaries they will be earning.
“We are trying to negotiate the terms of payment with their government. These should be given $4,000, an equivalent to the money given to Ugandan professors. They will accept it because it is more than what they are paid in their country,” Prof Katunguka said.
Meanwhile, Mr Manano said the memorandum of understanding between Kyambogo University and the Cuban Ministry of Higher Education is still pending.
The Cuban Ambassador, Ms Tania Perez Xigues, said she was going to consult the embassy and the Cuban Ministry of Education if the people whose CVs were sent to Kyambogo are still available since the documents were sent way back in 2019.
“I have received all the information about the data of the professors you want. It is important that we know the requirements and experience the university is looking for because we have many professors. I will consult our ministry of education and the embassy about the new development,” Ms Xigues said.
Uganda has been sharing a great working relationship with Cuba over the last years in developing and implementing programmes in various sectors, including setting up of Mbarara University of Science and Technology.
In 2017, the President threatened to hire Cuban nurses and doctors to replace the Ugandan ones who were demonstrating over poor pay.
“I wanted to bring Cuban doctors because our doctors behaved very badly, unprofessionally. They tried to incite doctors to abandon patients so that patients would die,” Mr Museveni said during Labour Day celebrations in 2017.
He added: “But fortunately, many of the doctors refused to leave their patients. It was only a few bad ones that boycotted patients.”
Recently, the Executive Director of the National Council for Higher Education, Prof Mary Okwakol, said the country has about 1,900 professors, with Makerere employing 50 percent of the professors.
She asked the government to start sponsoring PhD students if this number is to increase in the country.