Makerere University Council together with the University Community has honoured President Yoweri Museveni with an Authorship Award for his outstanding contribution in authoring the first ever Thesaurus in sub-Saharan Africa. The publication is written in an indigenous African language, Runyankole-Rukiga and is entitled Katondoozi.
“Thank you for recognising our work. I was able to extract most of the words from my father before he passed on. I also thank Professor Muranga and others for helping me to capture that very rich language,” President Museveni said.
The award was presented Tuesday 15th to the President as visitor to the institution by Professor Elly Sabiiti at the 1st session of the 69th graduation ceremony of the University at the Freedom Square in Kampala.
The ceremony saw 13,350 graduands receive awards in various disciplines that included Doctorates, Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates. The University also churned out the first group of graduands in defence and security studies.
Addressing the gathering, President Museveni reiterated to the academicians of Makerere University and other public Universities of the Government commitment to improve their remuneration to be at par with international standards.
“I want to repeat the NRM line to the academicians. Our plan has always been to ensure that the university staff are eventually remunerated in comparison with the international standards,” he said. He added that the exercise will be done in tandem with the recovery of the economy of the country.
“The hen pecks what it can swallow. Don’t aim at things you cannot achieve. We are doing it according to the capacity of our economy. We are struggling and I am assuring you that we shall succeed,” he emphasized.
The visitor to the 97-year old Makerere University also called for prioritization and discipline for the exercise of remuneration to succeed fast. He clarified that scientists were brought at the forefront to enable them concentrate on their research and related work. He said that others will eventually receive their better remuneration.
‘Let’s work in a disciplined way; the way we fought the war of liberation should be applied to fighting the war of capacity building”’ he asserted.
The Head of State advised social science academicians to be focused in their teaching citing the investigation of how Africa was colonized except Ethiopia and what antidotes were applied to liberate the continent. He further asked them to focus on science of management to acquire managerial skills to manage factors of production. He also said other disciplines would include accountancy, auditing and entertainment artistes, among others.
He urged scientists to understand the laws of nature and tame them for the benefit of man adding that they should focus on electronics and artificial intelligence, among others.
He cautioned graduands of social sciences not to lose hope as the government has a plan for them in terms of getting self-employed through opening up enterprises like leather tanning, wood products, among others. He disclosed that Uganda imports a lot of goods worth millions of dollars that would be made by the educated youth here in Uganda.
“If you don’t fall in any of the categories above, don’t be despondent. My plan for you graduands is through youth groups for you can form a group that can be supported by government or you can get interest free loans to enable you start a maize processing operation so that you become owners of capital units who will create jobs. We have already done an experiment and it works,” he said.
The President commended Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and his team for disciplining errant lecturers and staff of the institution.
“We don’t want decadents, the crime of cheating of marks or raping of children by lecturers,” he stressed.
The Minister of Education and Sports Hon. Janet Museveni noted that in the next ten years, Makerere University will focus on becoming research intensive institution.
‘By prioritising research, Makerere University is reclaiming its leadership position in providing solutions to challenges faced by Uganda and Africa as whole,” she said,’
She added that her Ministry is committed to strengthening the institutional capacity of higher education institutions in the country to deliver quality post graduate education and training as well as building collaborative research capacity in national priority areas like agriculture, health, education, and applied statistics.
Mrs. Museveni was pleased with the progress so far made by the government to address long-standing disputes with the staff of public universities as regards remuneration enhancement and a new structure.
The University Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma appreciated the support the government continues to provide to Makerere University noting that “this support has enabled the university to improve on many aspects of the institution.”
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, advised graduands to be patriotic and God-fearing. He assured them that with the knowledge they have acquired at the University, they will certainly succeed in life.