Some 200 needy students started classes at Makerere University last week, thanks to support from the MasterCard Foundation Scholars programme.
Formally handing over the scholarships last week, vice chancellor Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu charged the beneficiaries to be grateful for the offer from MasterCard.
“Failure to live to our academic expectations will lead to automatic expulsion from Makerere and loss of the scholarship because this university is committed to supporting MasterCard in all ways,” he said.
The award-giving ceremony, held at Makerere University, saw MasterCard scholarship coordinator, Dr Florence Nakayiwa, explaining that the programme is designed to support bright students from poor families.
“The scholars you see here were chosen on merit, highliting not only their academic potential but also the economic challenges that may hinder their pursuit for higher education as well,” Dr Nakayiwa said.
She added that the current cohort has 21 international scholars, drawn from Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan. “It also has 75 scholars directly transiting from BRAC, our secondary school partners … [and] 104 nationals from the wider Ugandan population.”
According to Dr Nakayiwa, MasterCard plans to educate 1,000 students from the aforementioned African countries, over the next ten years, starting in 2013. The new scholars join the 95 continuing students, already in second and third year.
Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the chairperson of the selection committee, noted that the process was complicated since they received 2,109 applications, from which they had to pick 200.
“We had a tough time reading several stories by some applicants because they were too devastating ... we struggled to hold back tears.”