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Prof. Suruma on 50 years at Mak, 8 years as Chancellor

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Prof. Ezra Suruma who first joined Makerere University as a Lecturer in 1973 recently completed two four-year terms as Chancellor (2016-2023). He spoke to Mak News Magazine about his tenure.

  1. Congratulations upon successfully completing your two terms as Chancellor. What would you say has been your most memorable experience?

Thank you. I’d say the graduation ceremonies of course. That is where I take charge as Chancellor. It is one of my main functions, the other main function is appointment of Vice Chancellors, Deputy Vice Chancellors and Principals. As Chancellor, I’m a titular head; it’s like the title of a book, so I am most visible during the graduation, which is a celebratory occasion, people are happy because they have completed their work and as I usually say in my speeches, when they finish their course they bring glory to themselves, their families and to God. And it is good to be on that occasion because people are enjoying and celebrating the glory of completing their task or their purpose.

But also the fact that we had a very peaceful period. During my time, I don’t remember having any strike or anything. The University has been very peaceful and I am very happy about that. That is important.

  1. Kindly share with us what you set out to achieve when you took office as Chancellor.

That’s a good question. I did not apply for the job. So when I was appointed, I was happy to come back to be associated with the University and I hoped that the University would contribute increasingly to the economic development of Uganda, which I have been committed to all my working life. And I would like to think that indeed the University has.

The problem of course we have is that of employment. That, we need to solve; we have graduates but are they working? Do they have the opportunity to work? That problem is not yet resolved. So I see that it is an outstanding problem and I think Makerere needs to make a contribution towards that problem.

  1. What would you say were the surprises during your term of office?

Well, of course no one anticipated Covid-19; that was a shock for everybody and we confronted it. I think Makerere did very well in confronting it.

There has been significant increase in Government funding for research. I salute Government for that. That is very very important.

But of course there is a dramatic increase in the number of Universities in Uganda. Makerere has to continue to lead the way and show direction because most of them will be looking to Makerere for direction and the right things to do. Makerere remains a leader and it is important that they lead in the right direction.

  1. What can Makerere do to continue leading in the right direction?

We are entering a very uncertain global economic and political period. So Makerere will have to really do work especially at the postgraduate level in terms of research in order to guide and influence the picture. It is very complex and we need insights to help us to retain our independence, because we can lose our independence. So it is extremely important that our best brains are doing the necessary research. The priorities are very very important. It is important that our brains are focused on the right priorities in order to ensure a peaceful future of our country.

  1. What advice would you give to the next Chancellor of Makerere University?

I think that it is important to resist the temptation to micromanage; to be too involved in the day-to-day affairs of the University. The Chancellor is a titular head, not the manager. Sometimes Chancellors are tempted to get involved in management. I was lucky that I was already engaged in Government in the President’s Office and the Prime Minister’s Office, I didn’t have time to meddle. But someone else may be tempted if they are not as occupied as I was, and that may increase the prospect of conflict with Management.

  1. What advice would you give to the staff, students and alumni of Makerere University?

Overall, I would appeal to everyone at the end of the day to remember that we are all brothers and sisters in one country and that we are at our best when we are living peacefully with one another. And so there is need to give and take, to make allowance for each other’s faults, so that we can maintain peace and minimise conflict. It is very easy to conflict. It takes an extra grace to be able to say, ‘wait a minute, can I restrain my anger and see what the problem is and how it can be resolved peacefully?’ Even brothers fight but you try not to kill one another as members of one family. So that sense of responsibility is very very important. And we need it as a country because we can very easily break out on racial, religious and tribal lines, and before you know it we are at each other’s neck and blood is flowing through the streets.

We have to always remember, we want to build a peaceful country, it is in everybody’s interest. So how can we enhance justice? How can we increase mutual understanding without fighting? Even people who are of a different tribe are your neighbours. God put them here; they may be a different tribe but they are your neighbours. You have to live with them. They are not enemies.

  1. Any final remark you would wish to share?

Just to request all members of Makerere Community to forgive me where I have not fulfilled their expectations, to try and carry on from where I have left off peacefully and to be patriotic in building our country.

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Advert: Mature Age Entry Scheme – Private Sponsorship 2024/2025

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Students sit for an exam in the pre-COVID era, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites applications for the Undergraduate
Programmes under the Mature Age Entry Scheme only for Private Sponsorship for
2024/2025 Academic Year.
Non-Refundable Application fee of Shs. 50,000/= for Ugandans OR $75 Equivalent for
Internationals, plus bank charge should be paid in any of the banks used by Uganda
Revenye Authority after generating a Payment Reference Number (PRN).

  • Apply using the Institution’s Applications Portal URL:https: //apply.mak.ac.ug
  • Application is for candidates who passed the Mature Age Entry Examinations of December 17, 2022 and February 24, 2024 only.
  • Any candidate who passed the examinations in mentioned above and was not admitted on Government/ Private sponsorship for December 17, 2022 sitting, and for Government sponsorship for February 24, 2024 sitting, is eligible to apply for admission on Private Sponsorship for 2024 /2025 Academic Year.

The closing date for applying will be Friday 26th July, 2024.

Further details can be accessed by following this link.

Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza
ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

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Diploma/Degree Holders Admission Lists 2024/25

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Main Library, Makerere University. Photo taken on 29th February 2016.

The Office of Academic Registrar, Makerere University has released lists of Diploma/Degree Holder applicants admitted under Private/Self Sponsorship for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that admission is subject to verification of academic documents by the awarding institutions.

The admission list is displayed here below:

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African Futures Research Leadership Program: Cohort 5 – Call for Scholars

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Participants at the initial AAP convening participate in design-thinking exercises to help imagine the future of partnerships between MSU and Africa. Photo: AAP

The Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) is seeking applicants for the fifth cohort of the AAP African Futures Research Leadership Program. This competitive visiting scholar program supports early career researchers from the AAP consortium to work for one year under the mentorship of faculty members from MSU and their home institution, focusing on building skills in research for impact, writing scholarly and/or policy publications, disseminating of research results, and developing grant proposals for external support. Scholars will also participate in a structured professional development program while building bridges and lasting connections with MSU contacts and across their cohort. 

The main objective of the African Futures program is to strengthen the capacity of a cadre of African researchers to return to their home institutions and become scientific leaders in their community, establish long-term partnerships with MSU faculty, co-create innovative solutions to Africa’s challenges, and in turn become trainers of the next generation of researchers. This program aims to address the gender gap in Africa, where only 30% of researchers are women, so scholars selected for the program will be women, or men who can demonstrate they are committed to support efforts towards gender equity in higher education institutions in Africa. The research areas that the scholars will engage in during the program should be aligned to AAP’s research priority areas

The AAP Management Team requests applications from early career researchers to participate in the next cohort, with work to begin virtually in February 2025. Scholars will spend September – December 2025 at MSU for the in-person portion of the program, followed by another period of virtual collaboration, ending in early 2026. The scholar and mentor team will receive a small grant for research and professional development activities including conference attendance and publication. Scholars will also receive a stipend during their time at MSU, visa application support, and round-trip travel from their home institution.

Eligibility

  • Citizen of an African country 
  • Completion of a PhD degree within the last 10 years 
  • Employed as an Academic Staff member at one of the AAP African consortium universities including Egerton University, Makerere University, University of Dar es Salaam, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Botswana, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University Cheikh Anta Diop, University of Arts and Humanities, Bamako, United States International University-Africa, and University of Pretoria 
  • Have documented approval of leave or sabbatical to participate in the program for the in-person period 
  • Have a mentor at their home institution that will serve as a collaborator and mentor
  • Research must be in one of the AAP priority areas
  • Applicants may only submit one proposal to AAP in this round of funding. Prior scholars are not eligible to apply. 

To learn more about the program, including how to apply, click below

Learn more

Applications to be an African Futures scholar are due August 18, 2024

Additional program dates:

  • Program start date (virtual): February 2025
  • In-person program: Sept – Dec 2025
  • Program end date: February 2026

Please contact Jose Jackson-Malete at jacks184@msu.edu or +1 517-353-6989 with any questions.

Source: AAP

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