The two were part of the formidable team that oversaw the successful implementation of the affirmative action for more girls to attain University education in Uganda
The Department of the Academic Registrar (AR) lost two former Academic Registrars, credited with laying a firm foundation for the Department. The late Bernard Onyango served in the Department from 1963 to 1992, first as a Deputy Registrar and later as Academic Registrar. He was laid to rest on Thursday 17th October 2013. The late Gershom Eyoku served in different capacities from August 1978 to Jan 1992, then as an Acting Academic Registrar until his retirement in June 1996. He was laid to rest on Friday 4th October 2013 in Asamuk, Amuria District.
Below is a tribute to them as told by a former workmate, Mr. James G. Okello, Deputy Registrar, Head of Senate Division. Mr. Okello had the privilege of working in the Academic Registrar’s Department under both men, who were a strong force; driving the Academic Registrar’s Department forward even throughout the turbulent political times of the 1970s.
One of the most outstanding contributions of the late Bernard Onyango was the initiation of the 1.5 scheme to enable more female students’ access University education. Mr. James Okello recalls how a speech was drafted for the President to read out at the Graduation ceremony in…. Part of this speech emphasized that Makerere University should initiate a mechanism to ensure that more girls are admitted without compromising the merit system. Bernard Onyango was the brain behind this speech.
“He came to me and asked me to initiate a draft which he improved. Everything happened so fast because the late Onyango knew how to lobby. The speech was sent to the President a week before graduation. He approved the idea and read it out during the Friday graduation; which was the only day reserved for this ceremony then. On Saturday morning, Onyango came to my house. He was happy that the President had read the speech with the female scheme idea in it. He suggested that we head to office and start drafting a proposal for Senate to consider in the coming week,” recalls a jovial Mr. Okello who was then serving as Personal Assistant to Onyango. After drafting the document for Senate, the two went for a drink to celebrate this partial achievement. “There were no posh bars by then. We just went to a pub in the vicinity of the University and had a beer each,” adds the nostalgic Okello.
By combining his excellent lobbying skills and powers as Secretary to Senate, Onyango managed to get Senate to accept the proposal for the 1.5 additional points to female students applying for the Government scholarship. Then University Senate then tasked the Academic Registrar’s Department to detail how the scheme would work. The late Prof. William Ssenteza Kajubi who was then Vice Chancellor and Chair of Senate complemented the efforts of this great team by ensuring that this scheme was successfully implemented after all parties had been brought on board regarding its dynamics.
In the Academic Department was another brilliant and highly committed person, the late Mr. Gershom Eyoku, who was tasked with coming up with the mathematical formula on how exactly the scheme would work. “Eyoku was initially hesitant because he feared that the scheme would compromise the merit system, but after Onyango explained the intention and merits, he (Eyoku) got started on the math. He came up with the 1.5 points which were discussed at other fora and thereafter adopted,” explains Okello.
The Scheme took effect in 1990 and continues to significantly contribute to the increased enrolment of female students. The graduation records show that only about 25% of the graduands were female compared to 75% of their male counterparts prior to the scheme’s introduction. The pattern has changed drastically courtesy of this policy and the private admission scheme; for example, during the last graduation held in January 2013, the figures were 46.7% of female students compared to 53.3% of male students. The successful implementation at Makerere attracted other countries to come to Uganda to benchmark with Makerere. These countries; Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, have lowered admission cut-off points for female candidates.
As Academic Registrar, Bernard Onyango did not tolerate any examination malpractice. Culprits of the same (both students and staff) were dismissed if found guilty and also publicized in the press. Okello recalls that before exams started, Onyango would issue a strongly worded letter to all faculties cautioning against examination malpractice and stating that names of culprits would be publicized in the press.
“Onyango had a policy that University affairs should not be managed in the press and any negative stories about Makerere University in the press were treated as a tip for internal investigations to start. But when it came to examination malpractice, Mr. Onyango besides getting them dismissed from the university would publicize the names of the culprits in the national newspapers. This served as a big deterrent for those who would have otherwise been involved. We sometimes referred to him as IGG because he did not tolerate any form of malpractice,” asserts Okello.
Onyango in an effort to ensure that persons in leadership in the Academic Units are accountable to staff Members in their units, initiated a policy of election of Deans and Heads of Department. This practice is now enshrined in the universities and other tertiary institutions act and resulted in many young academician taking up leadership positions in the university. Initially such positions fell vacant after the departure by retirement or death of the Office bearers.
Onyango also worked hard to attract scholarships and would go to embassies and make a case for scholarships at Makerere. He was a leader who mentored some of the Vice Chancellors too and would encourage colleagues with leadership qualities to take up positions. He particularly encouraged all employees in the AR’s Department to read each and every document of the University, irrespective of its content or discipline. He emphasized that the team in AR’s Department had to be informed in order to ably contribute and give guidance to whatever was discussed in meetings.
“The pass mark was initially at 40%. He would encourage us to read what the situation was like in other universities and compare with Makerere. Eventually he initiated a policy that the pass mark be raised to 50% as was the practice in other first-class universities. He trained the late Eyoku to take up after him,” adds Okello.
With this continuity ball set rolling, the shift from Onyango to Eyoku was seamless. Onyango informed colleagues in the AR’s Department that he was going on leave but would not come back. That signaled his end of service, as he had clocked 60 and was due for retirement. It also paved way for the fruits he had sown in the Department to be tried and tested in the able leadership of Eyoku. “As a trained mathematician, Eyoku’s style of leadership was either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No.’ He was highly principled,” explains Okello. “Mr Eyoku was actually approached by the Minister of Education by then to take up the mantle from Mr. Onyango but he declined explaining although he had amassed enough experience, he couldn’t fit in the big shoes Mr. Onyango left behind,” adds Okello.
The two men are remembered for having shown interest in all affairs of the University and were involved in almost all processes of the University right from admission of students, registration, graduation and teaching.
Mr. Alfred Namoah is the current Academic Registrar, having joined the Department in 2000 as a Senior Assistant Registrar. He confirms that the late Onyango and the late Eyoku’s records are impeccable.
“They worked at a time when record management was a purely manual process with no aid of ICTs and yet they had a highly organized system of tracking all records. What they did is admirable,” asserts Namoah. The AR’s Department now handles bigger numbers of students compared to the times then.
“Onyango highly stood out in terms of all University processes, where he emphasized integrity at all levels. Eyoku on the other hand had all the policies of the University on his finger tips. He knew the time a particular policy had come into effect and at what meeting of the Senate,” adds Namoah. This insight is also shared by Dr. Jessica Aguti, a senior lecturer in the College of Education and External Studies, who also doubles as a relative to the late Eyoku. ‘Eyoku is remembered for his sharp knowledge and memory of Senate minutes and was fondly referred to as the Senate encyclopedia,” she says. Eyoku is said to have guided senate by researching on various options and laying them before senate to make a decision. Most of the decisions were hardly challenged in the courts of law because they were well thought out and based on evidence.
The AR’s Department still upholds integrity as a core value. “You need people of high integrity to work here because we deal with very sensitive documents. There are students who will want to change their documents if they see a loophole in the system. I am glad that we have maintained our integrity. The team in the AR’s Department is highly professional, although there is need for improvement in customer care in some of our sections,” concludes Namoah.
Onyango and Eyoku certainly laid firm ground and set high standards.
Their legacies live on. May their souls rest in eternal peace.
By Marion Alina
Public Relations Office
Mak Participates in New Vision Education Expo 2023
Makerere University is participating in the New Vision Education Expo 2023 to strengthen its niche as the leading provider of education services.
The three-day New Vision Expo (Friday 27th January 2023 to Sunday 29th January 2023) at the Uganda Institute of Information and Communications Technology (UICT) Nakawa brings on board players in the education and business fields to forge partnerships to improve the quality and outcomes of education in Uganda.
Makerere University seeks to maximally utilize the three days to ensure that the participants at the Education Expo gain a deeper understanding of its 100 year journey of providing excellent services to humanity through academic programmes, services offered and ongoing efforts aimed at producing employable graduates as well as entrepreneurs.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe highlights that Makerere University values stakeholder engagements and partnerships. “The New Vision Expo 2023 presents Makerere University with an opportunity to enhance stakeholder engagements. It is about consolidating the relationships with schools, prospective students and parents, and partners in the education sector. I applaud the CEO of Vision Group-Mr. Don Wanyama for coming up with the Education Expo.”
To respond to the information needs of stakeholders, Makerere University has lined up a team of experienced staff from the Department of the Academic Registrar, the Admissions Office, Public Relations Office, Career Guidance experts as well as the Institute of Open Distance and e-Learning (IODeL) under the College of Education and External Studies (CEES).
According to the Principal PRO of Makerere University Ms. Ritah Namisango, the Education Expo provides a platform to reach out to the clients that Makerere University exists to serve. “You must be in touch with your prospective parents, students as well as schools and partners that continue to recommend you as the leading university in the region. Makerere University has celebrated 100 years of excellent service to humanity (1922-2022). So, as we continue to promote the academic programmes, innovations and services that we offer, we are ready to listen, interact and learn from respective stakeholders about what they expect from the University as we embark on the next 100 years.”
The New Vision Expo 2023 is happening at an opportune (holiday) time, which accords the students, parents and guardians quality time to visit the exhibition and interact with experts in the education sector.
In addition, Makerere University has recently advertised its academic programmes and it is preparing to receive students for the Academic year 2023/2024. Sharing her experience about the interaction with participants who visited the Makerere University exhibition space, Ms Joyce Muhanguzi, Senior Assistant Registrar in the Department of the Academic Registrar noted that most of the prospective students and parents wanted to know about the academic programmes, the subject combinations that students should study to qualify to apply for the respective academic programmes, and the available admission avenues i.e. government sponsorship, private sponsorship, diploma entry, direct entry, national merit, talented sports entry and district quota programme).
Ms Joyce Muhanguzi and Mr. Dennis Kibuuka’s interaction focused on students who expressed their desire to join Makerere University in the coming years, and needed a case by case approach to their information needs, career guidance and linkages to Professors and Administrative staff in the respective Colleges at Makerere University.
The prospective students and parents also disclosed that in addition to the information on the Makerere University website, they welcome interactive and friendly approaches such as the New Vision Education Expo where they are presented with a golden opportunity to interact with Makerere University officials face-to-face.
At the New Vision Education Expo 2023, Makerere University joins other exhibitors that include; Government agencies, NGOs, Telecom companies, Banks, Insurance companies, Kindergartens/Daycare Centres, Primary and Secondary schools, Ugandan and Kenyan Universities, International schools, Study Abroad Agencies, Vocational institutions, Scholastic materials suppliers and SME service providers.
73rd Graduation Highlights
The 73rd Graduation Ceremony of Makerere University will be held from Monday 13th to Friday 17th February 2023 following the schedule below:
Monday, 13th February, 2023
College of Health Sciences (CHS)
College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS)
School of Law (SoL)
Tuesday, 14th February, 2023
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)
College of Education and External Studies (CEES)
Wednesday, 15th February, 2023
College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS)
College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS)
College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security (CoVAB)
Thursday, 16th February, 2023
Makerere University Business School (MUBS)
Friday, 17th February, 2023
College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT)
College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS)
HEST Graduate Programme: Internship Placement Advert
The program aims to improve graduates’ skills by placing them into selected partner industries for skills gain, facilitating the process and supervising placed interns. Graduates will be placed in their areas of study accordingly.
The phased recruitment and placement will start from 1st December 2022 for a period of three months. Recent university graduates and those awaiting graduation should apply for this opportunity.
Makerere University and Kyambogo University
- Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Telecommunication Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
- Bachelor of Architecture
- Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
- Bachelor of Science in Land Economics
- Bachelor of Science in Quantity Surveying
- Bachelor of Science in Land Surveying and Geomatics
- Bachelor of Visual Communication Design
- Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science
Makerere University Business School
- Bachelor of Arts in Economics
- Bachelor of Science in Business Statistics
- Bachelor of Business Administration
- Bachelor of Commerce
- Bachelor of Real Estate Business Mgt.
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
- .Bachelor of Science in Finance
- Bachelor of Human Resource Mgt.
- Bachelor of Leadership and Governance
- Bachelor of Procurement and Supply Chain Mgt.
- Bachelor of Transport & Logistics Mgt.
- Bachelor of International Business
- Bachelor of Catering and Hotel Mgt.
- Bachelor of Science in Marketing
- Bachelor of Travel and Tourism Mgt.
- Bachelor of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Mgt.
- Bachelor of Business Computing
- Bachelor of Office and Information Mgt.
They should not be employed anywhere and should have gone through the traditional internship placement required by their respective universities.
How Students join
Interested university graduates shall submit an online application and contact the designated university contact or focal persons. Successful applicants will be required to complete the three (3) months internship pgoram uninterrupted to fully benefit from the program. Apply here: https://bit.ly/HEST2022
How companies participate
A company interested in hosting interns under the program can fill out an internship acceptance form and forward it to the internship placement officer.
Contacts of University focal persons
Makerere University (Mak)
Dr. Christine Amito
Makerere University Business School (MUBS)
Ms. Christine Nantambi
Kyambogo University (KYU)
Ms. Nandugwa Harriet
Contacts of IEED Project Team
Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH)
Ms. Mary Kaakyo,
IEED Project Coordinator
Makerere University School of Statistics and Planning (MakSSP)
Ms. Afazali Zabibu,
HEST Study Coordinator
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