Makerere University Council together with the University Community has honoured President Yoweri Museveni with an award for his outstanding scholarly contribution in authoring a Thesaurus 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 to the President at the 1st session of the 69th graduation ceremony of the University at the Freedom Square in Kampala.
The week-long ceremony will see 13,350 graduands receive awards in various disciplines that included Doctorates, Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates.
The University will also offer certificates to the first group of graduands in defence and security studies.
Addressing the gathering, President Museveni reiterated Government commitment to improve remuneration of academicians at Makerere and other public Universities.
“I want to repeat the NRM line to the academicians. Our plan has always been to ensure that the university staff are eventually remunerated to match 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 President, who is also University visitor to the 97-year old institution, 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.
Mr. Museveni 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 how to tame nature for the benefit of man adding that they should focus on electronics and artificial intelligence, among others.
For graduands in the arts, where job uptake is low, President Museveni informed the congregation that government will offer them support through the various youth programmes, using low interest loans and grants to start ventures like maize milling, carpentry, leather tanning, etc.
Eventually these should become owners of capital units and job creators. It will also help reduce Uganda’s import bill when we stop buying items like furniture, construction materials etc, from abroad.
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 decadence, 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 a 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.