Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is one of the oldest in the world, with a student population of 21,000; 58% being undergraduate and 42% postgraduate. 11% of the undergraduate student population and approximately 53% of postgraduate applicants originate from outside the European Union (EU). The Cambridge Trust is the principal provider of scholarships at the University of Cambridge supporting around 1,200 students at any one time.
Despite the focus on international graduate students, Cambridge Trust receives few applications from Uganda and Makerere in particular. This nagging question therefore prompted Dame Barbara Stocking, and Mrs. Helen Pennant to visit Makerere University and interact with the Management, Leadership, Staff and Students on 12th September 2017. Dame Barbara Stocking is the President of Murray Edwards College and Trustee of both the Gates Cambridge Trust and the Cambridge Trust, while Mrs. Helen Pennant is the Director of the Cambridge Trust.
Welcoming the delegation, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked the ladies for seeking to strengthen and extend the existing connections between Makerere and the University of Cambridge. He noted that just like Cambridge, Makerere is a collegiate university with 10 constituent colleges and is home to the best and most vibrant faculty on the African continent, with over 60% PhD holders.
“Makerere is also a vibrant research institution and is ranked second in Africa in terms of research output and publications. Our research agenda targets both national and regional challenges such as climate change, high population growth rates, food security and emerging diseases,” said Prof. Nawangwe.
The Vice Chancellor added that as a result, Makerere is world renowned for research in tropical diseases and the breeding of fast maturing, drought tolerant and disease resistant crop varieties. “Makerere University went collegiate to streamline her academic and research functions. Our research output has increased as a result and a college review is underway to see how we can perfect the system.”
Dame Barbara Stocking in her remarks expressed her happiness at visiting Makerere and congratulated the Vice Chancellor and staff upon the fruitful collaborations with Cambridge and all other universities. She noted that the Cambridge-Africa programme had serious ongoing partnerships in the names of THRiVE (Training Health Researchers into Vocational Excellence) and CAPREx (Cambridge-Africa Partnership for Research Excellence) and these were going to be further strengthened.
She added that despite the availability for PhD and Masters scholarships tenable at Cambridge, there were few applicants from sub-Saharan Africa. “Our visits to Kenya and Uganda this month are to help us clearly understand why scholars from this region aren’t successfully taking up these opportunities.”
Reiterating her colleagues point, Mrs. Helen Pennant shared that the Cambridge Trust and Gates Cambridge Trust are an opportunity to address the imbalance of few Graduate students from sub-Saharan Africa in general and Makerere in particular.
“The Gates Cambridge Trust offers 100 fully funded scholarships for PhD study which cover tuition fees and other allowances and for the Ugandan scholars, the offer also covers the airfare” enthused Mrs. Pennant. She however recognised the importance of the Alumni chapter engaging directly with prospective students and shared that sessions for applicants to be held later on the same day would feature four former students, including Dr. John Kitayimbwa an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics.
“The Gates Cambridge scholarship further looks at how much leadership potential the applicants have and how much they have already done for their communities” said Dame Stocking, further adding “There is no reason why we should have more Ugandans securing these opportunities.”
Prof. Nelson Sewankambo is the Director of the THRiVE Consortium at Makerere University. Weighing in on the day’s discussion, he observed that his last nine years at the helm of the consortium had been the most exciting and rewarding of his years spent at Makerere. THRiVE has been able to sponsor a number of PhD students from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda and currently has four PhD and two Postdoctoral students on scholarship.
“The reason why students from Uganda and Makerere in particular are not featuring highly in Cambridge’s scholarship awards is because they imagine that the standards are too high. It is therefore important that members of the alumni share their personal experiences with these applicants” said Prof. Sewankambo.
CAPREx is a tripartite collaboration involving the University of Cambridge, University of Ghana, Legon and Makerere University. The programme started in 2012 and has so far supported 65 Academic Fellowships, 34 from Makerere University and 31 from the University of Ghana. The Director of Research and Graduate Training-Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza who coordinated the visit acknowledged that Dame Stocking’s and Mrs. Pennant’s coming to Makerere brought the foundations of the application process closer to Uganda. He observed that although the CAPREx programme started at a slow pace, it has since picked up as applicants are better informed of the opportunities.
In her concluding remarks, Dame Stocking acknowledged that although Cambridge’s ancient buildings, application fees and English tests were a put-off for many applicants, it was important that the alumni help to walk the prospective applicants through the process. She also urged all academic referees to write helpful supporting letters as these greatly boosted the applicant’s chances of being selected.
The Vice Chancellor once again thanked Dame Stocking and Mrs. Pennant for their visit, noting that the tips they had shared during the interaction were very helpful. “Uganda is the centre of Africa. It has ethnic groupings from almost all parts of the continent and once you have studied Uganda, you have studied Africa. Makerere should be the coordinating centre for Cambridge in Africa as we look forward to exploring more collaborations” concluded Prof. Nawangwe.
At the end of the meeting attended by Members of Management, Directors and Principals of Colleges, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe handed over Makerere souvenirs to ladies and received a Cambridge souvenir from Mrs. Pennant.
Article by Public Relations Office
Veteran Professor changed Makerere and Higher Education
When Professor John Ssebuwufu ambled up to receive a certificate of recognition for his ‘exceptional’ contribution to higher education from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) at Makerere University (MU), he was thinking of many things, such as rewarding staff, that he could have done differently to impact university education more.
But he did what he could have done, under the circumstances.
He presided over MU (in 1993) when student enrolment was 5,000 and left in 2004 when the population was surging to more than 15,000.
He emphasised the use of information communication technologies in almost all the institutions he had been involved in and sent many academic staff on exchanges to boost research and innovation. Now, more African universities engage in ground-breaking research.
So, he proceeded to accept his recognition and make his acceptance speech, which was mostly about gratitude.
Ssebuwufu, 74, who is currently the chancellor at Kyambogo University and the vice-chancellor of the University of Kisubi, is credited for his exemplary leadership and pragmatic methods that have shaped higher education in Uganda and Africa as a whole.
Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022
The Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program is a capacity building project by the AfDB and Japan which was initiated in 2017 with the aim of providing two-year scholarship awards to highly achieving African graduate students to enable them to undergo post-graduate studies (i.e. a two-year Master’s degree program) in selected priority development areas on the continent and Japan. The overarching goal the AfDB and the Government of Japan seek to attain is to enhance skills and human resources development in Africa in under the Bank’s High 5s agenda (i.e. “Feed Africa”, “Light up Africa”, “Industrialize Africa”, “Integrate Africa” and “Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa”) and key Japanese development assistance initiatives. JADS core areas of study focus include energy, agriculture, health, environmental sustainability, and engineering. The program also seeks to promote inter-university collaboration and university-industry partnerships between Japan and Africa. Upon completion of their studies, the JADS scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the public and private sectors, and contribute to national and continental socio-economic development.
About the JADS program
The JADS Program is open to applicants from AfDB member countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts who are applying to a graduate degree program in energy development and related discipline. The program does not provide scholarships to any other graduate degree program.
The scholarship program provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance.
Upon completion of their studies, the beneficiary scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills, and contribute to the promotion of sustainable development of their countries.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
The program is open to those who have gained admission to an approved Masters degree course at a Japanese partner university. Candidates should be 35 years old or younger; in good health; with a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the energy area or related area; and have a superior academic record. Upon completion of their study programs, scholars are expected to return to their home country to contribute to its economic and social development.
- Applicant requests for information and application forms and procedures from the chosen JADS partner university. For any inquiries, please contact JADS@AFDB.ORG
- Applicant completes required documents and sends them to the university.
- University evaluates and selects applicants.
- University sends selected candidates to the AfDB.
- AfDB reviews submissions from universities, prepares and approves the final list.
- AfDB contacts selected awardees, and informs the universities.
WHS Regional Meeting Africa 2021: Finance Chairperson’s Update
SOPs: Our plan is to have 200 sets of people in different spacious rooms…Prof. Tonny j. oyana, finance chairperson whs regional meeting africa
We are sincerely grateful to our sponsors…
Over 15 core sponsors…
Sessions: 60% Virtual, 40% Onsite…