The Kyambogo University council chairperson, Dr Mary Goretti Nakabugo, has asked the government to support the university in addressing persistent challenges that hamper its commitment to delivering quality services to students.
She said whereas student numbers appear to have held up for now – currently at 33,000 – the university is still facing significant financial challenges.
“We are truly grateful for the support so far but still hope that despite the economic hardships faced by the government, it should help increase our wage allocation to enable the university to hire adequate staff. The university has continued to do its best at only about 30 per cent staffing levels and 70 per cent of the positions in the approved structure remain unfilled,” Nakabugo said.
She requested government funds for infrastructural development including its maintenance to address the challenge of inadequate office space, lecture rooms, the road network, and security lights to ensure staff and student safety.
This is in addition to the government fulfilling its pledge of renovating halls of residences to give resident students a conducive living environment.
Nakabugo was speaking on the first day of the Kyambogo University 18th graduation ceremony which kicked off today at the East End Pitch grounds. More than 12,080 students will receive diplomas, degrees, Masters, and PhDs in various fields for the next two days.
Of these, 6,239 are male, and 5,841 female. Five students will graduate with PhDs from the faculties of Arts and Humanities, Science, and School of Education while at least 285 students got first-class degrees.
This is the highest number of graduands since the inception of the university in 2003. The increment in numbers was attributed to several students who had overstayed on their programmes with retakes for passing their examinations.
The best performing male students were; David Semwanga with a bachelor of Textile and Apparel Design and Gibson Epaphras Muhereza with a Bachelor of Special Needs Education (Bushenyi Learning Centre) who both scored a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.85. Zaitunie Nakaddu with a bachelor of Business Administration emerged as the best female student with a CGPA of 4.83 out of a total of 5.0.
To address the ever-growing financial pressures, the state minister for Higher Education, Dr John C Muyingo, who presided over the ceremony advised Kyambogo University management to prioritize public-private partnerships in the meantime as the government looks for alternative avenues to extend more support to the university.
“I am aware of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic which destabilized the entire education sector and subsequent economic hardships which we are still trying to recover from. However, I would like to remind you that the government through the Public-Private Partnerships Act allows universities to attract partners to supplement its funding,” Muyingo said.
He added that: “Globalization and the digital era have presented us with unprecedented opportunities that can help us leverage our networks and transform our society together.”
Muyingo encouraged the university staff to create more partnerships and collaboration networks which will build their research profiles and strengthen the Work Integrated Learning Approach.
Today [Wednesday], the university passed out graduates from the faculty of Special Needs and Rehabilitation and the School of Management and Entrepreneurship.
Nakabugo urged the graduates to have a positive attitude towards work and life.
“Please remain humble irrespective of the academic qualifications you have attained. Continue searching for knowledge. Most of all, be men and women of integrity because this is the best gift you can give to society that has invested so much in you,” she said.
On Thursday [tomorrow], students from the faculties of Arts, Social Sciences, Agriculture, and Schools of Vocational Studies and Art and Industrial Design will be graduating.
The three-day ceremonies will end this Friday with students from the faculties of Science and Engineering, and Schools of Education, Built Environment, and Computing and Information Science.