Private universities will have to look or think of alternative sources of funding other than students’ tuition fees, Vice President. Maj. (Rtd) Jessica Alupo has said.
VP Alupo was officiating at Kampala University’s 19th graduation held at the institution’s headquarters at Ggaba, Kampala on Thursday.
She said government is committed to extending more grants to both public and private universities to boost research and innovation.
“Unfortunately, majority of the private universities are incapacitated to access and benefit from this fund. I, therefore, encourage all private universities to create local and international networks to gain technical and financial assistance needed to rebuild higher education and research capacity,” Alupo said.
She also appealed to the graduands to remain focused and embrace government programmes
“I appeal to you to remain focused and help promote government programmes like the Village Parish Development Model (PDM) in your respective communities through training and executing any other consultancy services highly needed for its better implementation,” VP Alupo said.
In his speech, the university vice-chancellor, Prof. Badru Kateregga, lauded government for providing loans to needy students to study in chartered institutions like Kampala University.
“These loans do not only provide needy students with access to equitable higher education but add a decent academic value to them,” Prof. Kateregga said.
He expressed concern over the declining number of loan scheme students, a trend he said has been visible over the last three years.
“For the last three years, universities are witnessing a scarily continuous decline in the number of loan scheme students as far as their selection and consideration by the Authority is concerned. The government should consider steadily increasing on these numbers rather than the contrary,” Prof. Kateregga said.
He called upon government to consider supporting Kampala University owing to its contribution to the country’s workforce and development in its 23 years of existence.
“Over 30,000 graduates have gone through the gates of this institution and majority of them are well placed. This is a clear manifestation that Kampala University is in the basket of institutions that deserve support, especially in the fields of research, innovation and infrastructure development,” the flamboyant scholar said.
Prof. Kateregga also used the ceremony to reaffirm his earlier stance that the Kampala University Juba branch had been closed because of failure by the Juba authorities to offer the requisite license and accreditation.
“Kampala University sought to extent its operations in South Sudan and we heavily invested in infrastructure and other services but the authorities in South Sudan declined to give us a license. We took a painful decision to suspend our operations there,” Prof. Kateregga said.
His remarks follow a saga involving a section of South Sudanese students who rose up in arms protesting against what they termed as Kampala University’s failure to graduate them.
Prof. Kateregga, however, said that all the continuing students at the college who were affected by the suspension of operations in 2017 have since been graduated.
He faulted the management of the former Kampala University Juba branch under the leadership of Faisal Kalema for continuing to illegally admit students despite receiving a letter to the contrary.
Turning to the graduands, Prof. Kateregga urged them to use the knowledge they have attained to create wealth.
“Go and create wealth, become wealthy and teach others with your good examples how to get rich,” Prof. Kateregga said.
The university’s vice-chancellor, Prof. Mondo Kagonyera, challenged the management of Kampala University and other institutions of higher learning to start teaching market-oriented courses that can enable students fit in the job market and create wealth for themselves.
“Helping young people learn entrepreneurial and workforce skills will help them create their own business, get jobs and improve their income positions,” Prof Kagonyera said.
A total of 2,415 on Thursday graduated with certificates, diploma , bachelors and post-graduate qualifications at the institution’s 19th graduation ceremony. Of these, 42 walked away with first class degrees.
Kampala University opened its doors to pioneer students on February 16, 1999. The now sprawling institution now boasts of a student population of over 10,000 with campuses in Jinja, Masaka, Luwero and Mutundwe. It has also spread its wings to Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania.