The 72nd graduation ceremony of Makerere University has kicked off today, 23rd May 2022 with the Colleges of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) and Health Sciences as well as the School of Law presenting students for the award of degrees and diplomas in various disciplines.
The graduation ceremony presided over by the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma was graced by the President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni and the First Lady, also Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni.
During 72nd graduation ceremony that ends on Friday, 27th May 2022, a total of 12,474 graduands will receive degrees and diplomas of Makerere University. Of these, 100 will graduate with PhDs, 1,236 with Masters degrees, 10,998 with Bachelor’s degrees and 140 with undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas. 52 % of the graduands are female and 48 % are male. Forty of the 100 PhD graduands and 492 of the 1,236 Masters graduands are female, representing 40% in each category.
The College of Natural Sciences has presented a total of 268 students including 17 PhDs, 22 Masters (4 female,18 male) and 229 undergraduates (72 female, 157 male). Of these, a total of 5 students (1 female, 4 male) graduated with First Class degrees. Eight students attained PhD in Mathematics, the highest number of PhD graduates from a single department in the 100-year history of Makerere University. The students were sponsored by the SIDA Bilateral Programme, 2015-2022, project 316 ‘Capacity Building in Mathematics and its Applications. Since 2015, the Project led by Prof. John Mango has sponsored 21 PhD students.
Presenting the graduands, the Principal of CoNAS, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta commended Prof. Mango for his invaluable contribution towards research and training in the Department of Mathematics.
The 17 PhD graduates include; Adaku Christopher, Anywar Godwin, Buttibwa Mary, Eneku John Paul, Inuwa Badamasi, Kito Luliro Silas, Kyomuhangi Annet, Mayanja Edison, Mukisa Ambrose, Ochen William, Opio Peter, Nabawanda Olivia, Nanfuka Mary, Nalule Rebecca, Okello Joseph Omwonylee, and Wamono Felix.
Remarks by the President
Speaking at the ceremony, the President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni who attended virtually re-echoed the importance of science in development. “The trigger of social change is science. I appeal to Ugandans and social scientists to understand this. When Africa was colonized, it was not that we lacked Kings, Magicians, Priests, we lacked science. Science was not emphasized. What was emphasized was these other actors. We want to emphasize science because it is the basis of socioeconomic transformation,” he explained, recommitting to facilitate government scientists better. “We have insisted on giving good salaries to Government scientists including science teachers in public Universities and secondary schools. This is not because we have forgotten the social scientists and arts people. This is because we cannot handle all at a go,” he noted. Additionally, the President emphasized the need for collaborative research. Commenting on security on Campus, he pledged to facilitate the completion of the University Perimeter wall.
Remarks by the Minister of Education and Sports
Delivering her remarks, the First Lady, also Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni who also attended virtually congratulated the graduands and their parents for the success registered. She thanked the University Management for their commitment in ensuring students attain quality education. “Together with our partners in development, we are still struggling to improve the working conditions, revamp the university infrastructure and to have new curriculum. We are grateful to our partners who have stood with us but most of all the government. We are specifically grateful to the NRM government because it shepherds the Ugandan child from childhood by providing basic health and education services. Government hope is that the Parish Model will empower the family to support the other education requirements of children. As we celebrate 100 years, we thank God for where He has brought us from. From 14 students, the University now has over 3,8000 students. This is no mean achievement. We must stand together. Let nothing divide us in our pursuit to transform the University and country. We should learn to embrace dialogue in conflict resolution,” she noted. The First Lady appreciated the Government for the enormous investment in research at the University. “Through government processes, we received funding for the construction of a 300-bed teaching hospital. This will greatly improve the teaching infrastructure at the University.”
The Chairperson, Makerere University Council
Addressing graduands, the Chairperson, Makerere University Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated the Vice Chancellor for the great service rendered to the University for the years he has held the Office. She presented an award to Prof. William Bazeyo, for his exemplary service as Deputy Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration. During his tenure, Prof. Bazeyo played a tremendous role in soliciting for funding for the University, leading to a reduction of the University debt from UGX120 billion in 2017 to less than UGX 10 billion currently.
Remarks by the Chancellor
The Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma appreciated the President and the First Lady, for their exceptional leadership and persistent determination in managing the Covid19 pandemic. “Despite the enormous economic, social and political pressures that you faced, you refused to relent in the face of the havoc of covid19 upon the world in general and Uganda in particular. I believe that your firm stand on vaccination and on preventive lockdown helped to save thousands of lives of Ugandans who would probably have died.” The Chancellor also appreciated the Government of Uganda for the commitment towards advancing research and higher education in the Country.
In his address, the Chancellor congratulated the graduands and paid tribute to the parents and guardians for the sacrifices made to ensure their children attain quality education. “I plead with the graduands to never forget to cherish and to honour your parents, guardians and sponsors who have sacrificed so much to help you reach this graduation day. As they become older, they will increasingly need your love and financial support. Whenever I meet someone I assisted and he or she tells me how they cherished my support I feel greatly uplifted. But whenever I remember someone I assisted but who has never bothered to send even a message of greetings, I feel discouraged. Please endeavor to cultivate an attitude of gratitude,” he advised.
The Chancellor appreciated Makerere University Management and faculty for the commitment and time invested in delivering quality education to the students.
The Vice Chancellor’s address
The Vice Chancellor congratulated the students and professors on the achievement. He thanked the parents, guardians, Government, and other sponsors, for supporting the students. “A total of 254 of this week’s graduands have been supported under the Government of Uganda Students’ Loans Scheme under the Higher Education Students’ Financing Board (HESFB). Since 2014, the Students’ Loan Scheme has supported 1,816 Students to study different Science Programmes at Makerere University, making it the single biggest supporter of private students at the Institution. These students would otherwise never have achieved their higher education dreams if it was not for the Students’ Loan Scheme. I wish to congratulate you the beneficiaries and appeal to you to use the skills and knowledge you have acquired to serve your country but also remember to pay back such that more students can be supported.”
Similarly, the Vice Chancellor appreciated all development partners who have supported many students to attain quality education at Makerere, including the Mastercard Foundation, Sida, Norad, The Madhvani Foundation, the Inter-University Council of East Africa, as well as Government Ministries and Agencies.
The Vice Chancellor thanked the University Council for expanding the Female Scholarship Scheme to support 40 girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, with special attention to Uganda’s ethnic minorities, including the Ik, the Dodoth, the Batwa, and the Jie. “It is also my pleasure to report that the University Council policy on affirmative action for girls in STEM is already bearing fruit. Because of that policy, the enrolment of girls in STEM has increased from 35% to 42% over the last two academic years.”
Regarding research and innovation at Makerere, the Vice Chancellor appreciated the Government for the allocation of UGX 30 billion annually for the last three years towards the Research and Innovation Fund, commonly referred to as RIF. “This fund has transformed Makerere tremendously. Out of 1,200 applications received, more than 700 research grants have so far been allocated and more than 500 innovations have been recorded, many of them with potential for commercialization, and a number of policy briefs and manuals have been developed. The Government of Uganda is now the single largest funder of research at Makerere University and we are obliged to respond by increasing our efforts to find solutions to our Country’s development challenges. Our potential for innovation came out during the COVID-19 pandemic when more than 200 innovations to fight that disease were realized. I congratulate the Makerere researchers for their patriotism and zeal.”
He also appreciated the Government for the considerable investments in improving Makerere University infrastructure. “Last week the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports came to Makerere to commission some buildings and lay foundation stones for others, including the reconstruction of our iconic Main Administration Building, for which Government has already availed all the UGX 21 billion required. The new building for the School of Dentistry has enabled us to equip the biggest dental hospital in East Africa. The Central Teaching Facilities have greatly alleviated the shortage of teaching and office space, and the new building for the School of Law will enhance research and graduate training in the discipline of Law. All these projects will cost the Government more than UGX 60 billion and we thank you very much indeed.”
The Vice Chancellor equally thanked the President for the pledge to support the construction of a perimeter wall around the University campus. He also appreciated the President for his directive for the allocation of funds to renovate student halls of residence and facilities of the College of Health Sciences. “These facilities are central to student welfare and the quality of our teaching and training. With these investments, I want to assure Your Excellency that we shall give our best to build the human capital of this country and enhance research and innovation to drive the national development agenda. The grant of USD 300 million negotiated by the First Lady and Minister of Education for the construction of a teaching hospital at Makerere University will greatly revolutionise teaching and research at Makerere. Makerere will never be the same again,” he noted. He also extended gratitude to the government for the pledge of UGX 800 million to support activities to mark 100 years of Makerere University. This year, Makerere is celebrating 100 years of excellent service to humanity. The climax will be on 8th October 2022.
Full speech by the Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Mak Paves Path to Biodiversity Leadership: Inaugural ABS Project Workshop Strengthening Uganda’s Nagoya Protocol Capacity
By Laban Lwasa
In a groundbreaking event that unfolded at Makerere University‘s Telepresence Center on November 7, 2023, the Inception Workshop for the ABS Project took center stage, hosted by the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Department of Plant Sciences, Microbiology, and Biotechnology. Prof. Tumps Ireeta, Principal of CoNAS, set the tone with a warm welcome, highlighting Uganda’s rich biodiversity and the pivotal role of the Nagoya Protocol in ensuring the legal utilization of genetic resources. The collaboration between NEMA and Makerere University, supported by the GEF, aims to equip professionals with ABS knowledge and position Makerere at the forefront of Nagoya Protocol compliance.
Prof. Arthur Kajungu Tugume, Dean of the School of Biosciences, emphasized the project’s significance in institutional capacity strengthening for the Nagoya Protocol’s implementation in Uganda, showcasing the School of Biosciences as a hub for genetic resource research and training. The pilot project, in collaboration with NEMA, GEF, and UNEP, aims to expand countrywide and potentially across the African continent. It seeks to empower a skilled workforce informed on ABS issues, contributing to economic development and poverty eradication as aligned with SDG 1.
Mr. Achuu Peter, Project Manager from NEMA, highlighted Uganda’s extraordinary biodiversity and the need to explore the benefits of genetic resources for medicines, food, and more. He emphasized the importance of the Nagoya Protocol in mitigating biodiversity loss and highlighted challenges faced by Uganda in terms of weak institutional capacity, inadequate policies, and lack of coordination for ABS. The project focuses on strengthening ABS frameworks, capacity building, community-level management, and raising awareness to ensure equitable benefits from genetic resource utilization.
Mr. Daniel Abowe, UNCST ABS Project Officer, shed light on the complex landscape of national ABS laws in Uganda, resulting in legal complexity and high transaction costs for users. He also detailed the Uganda research approval process, emphasizing UNCST’s role in ABS implementation, which includes issuing access permits and ensuring benefit-sharing agreements. The multifaceted project aims to align Uganda with the Nagoya Protocol’s goals and foster collaboration between higher institutions and local communities for the management of genetic resources.
Dr. Katuura Esther, the Project Principal Investigator at Makerere University, highlighted the institution’s pivotal role in training and research. Makerere University aspires to be a thought leader, committed to providing transformative teaching, learning, research, and services that cater to dynamic national and global needs. The institution’s strategic goals encompass leadership in high-quality programs, knowledge dissemination, research, scholarship promotion, and corporate social responsibility. Dr. Esther also addressed the challenges and opportunities in preserving indigenous knowledge, emphasizing the role of digital technologies and collaboration between research institutions and local communities.
The programs designated for updating at Makerere University are a comprehensive effort to align with the Nagoya Protocol. Notable among these programs are BSc Applied and Economic Botany, BSc in Conservation Biology, Bachelor of Biotechnology, Masters in Botany, Masters in Genetics, Masters in Plant Pathology and Crop Science, and Masters in Economic Botany. This holistic approach aims to contribute to the conservation and equitable utilization of genetic resources.
Dr. Cyprian Misinde, the Director of Quality Assurance at Makerere University, emphasized the importance of incorporating international and global standards into the academic curriculum. He underscored the crucial role of projects like ABS in enhancing the capacity of professionals and equipping them to become part of a globally competitive workforce. This workshop marked a significant stride in Uganda’s journey towards sustainable biodiversity management and conservation, creating a ripple effect that extends far beyond its borders, leaving a lasting impact on the world stage.
Laban Lwasa is the Senior Administrative Assistant, Makerere University, Grants Administration and Management Support Unit (GAMSU)
Ugandan student Dorothy Akoth wins 2023 GBIF Graduate Researchers Award
Ms. Dorothy Akoth, a Master’s student at the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University has been named one of two winners of the 2023 GBIF Graduate Researchers Award. An expert jury selected Akoth, who was nominated by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology together with National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI), for the instrumental role of her research in improving the knowledge of the distribution and imperilment status of 110 native fish species outside the iconic Haplochromine tribe of East African cichlids. The student was supervised by Prof. Fredrick Muyodi and Dr. Jackson Efitre
from the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences at CoNAS, Makerere University, and Dr Vanny Natugonza of Busitema University.
Since its inception in 2010, the annual GBIF Graduate Researchers Award (previously the Young Researchers Award) has sought to promote and encourage innovation in biodiversity-related research using data shared through the GBIF network.
CARTA Fellow Anywar Selected as Fellow of ASLP
Godwin Anywar (cohort 6 graduate, Makerere University) was selected as a fellow of the Africa Science Leadership Programme (ASLP) based at the Future Africa Campus at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, on September 8, 2023.
Within the month, he:
- Will be participating in the Uganda-Swiss Museum Cooperation Workshop from September 24 – October 4, 2023, in Kampala, Uganda, and will present on ‘Traditional Medicine in Transition.’
- Presented a keynote paper on ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing during the PhD Journey’ at the Makerere University Business School (MUBS) 27th Annual International Management Conference (AIMC) under the theme “Leveraging Governance, Human Capital and Technology for Sustainability in Kampala – Uganda on September 25 – 27, 2023.
- Presented a paper on ‘The Cannabis/Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) Landscape in Africa: An Overview of its Cultivation and Legal Aspects’ at the 20th International Napreca Conference on Natural Network for East and Central Africa (NAPRECA) in Harare, Zimbabwe on September 20, 2023.
- Attended the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Science Forum at the University of Nairobi on September 20, 2023, to celebrate 50 years of DAAD in East Africa.
Source: CARTA Newsletter Issue 69
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