By Innocent Anguyo
The Education ministry has obtained a sh74.6b loan from the African Development Bank (ADB) to expand teaching facilities at Makerere University.
The expansion will see Makerere acquire an additional 12,000 square meters of lecture space.
Makerere is among seven public institutions of higher learning that will benefit from the $74.4m (approximately sh187b) ADB loan, earmarked for the higher education and science and technology (HEST) Project.
Makerere University yesterday said construction of the multimillion dollar learning facilities will start at the end of this year.
Using the money, Makerere will recommence the construction of two training complexes, one at the School of Social Sciences and another at the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS).
According to Dr. Florence Nakayiwa, the director, planning and development department at Makerere, the School of Social Sciences complex and the UCB flat at CoBAMS could be completed in four years, after decades of stalling over lack of money.
Lecture theaters at the two buildings, Nakayiwa said will accommodate 10,000 students at a single sitting.
The two buildings will house multipurpose lecture theaters, meeting rooms, faculty offices, science laboratories, ICT laboratories, technology workshops and libraries.
Makerere will also build modern laboratories in all science-based colleges. For example, a physiotherapy lab will be established at the college of health sciences.
Two labs will be built at the college of engineering, and another two at the Veterinary Medicine. One more lab will be built at the school of education.
A diary value chain will also be established at Makerere University Agricultural Research institute, Kabanyolo (MUARIK).
Established as a farm in 1953, and upgraded to a fully-fledged research institute in 1992, MAURIK has struggled to run efficiently over resource constraints.
The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences could be transferred to Kabanyolo once an administration block and more lecture theatres are constructed with the funds from ADB, Nakayiwa said.
Nakayiwa said expansion and improvement of Makerere infrastructure was long overdue, since most of the facilities at Uganda’s oldest University were built in the 1960s and 70s.
With more space at the university’s disposal, Nakayiwa said Makerere “could even increase her intake”.
Makerere senior spokesperson Ritah Namisango said the ADB funded projects will improve the quality of teaching and learning especially in sciences at Makerere.
However, space has been a big challenge at the institution with some of the students having to stand during some lectures such as Microeconomics which is attended by thousands of students. Makerere currently has 41,000 students.
Nakiyiwa said Makerere currently requires an additional 48,000 square meters of lecture space.Makerere will also use the money to conduct PhD and Entrepreneurship training.
Meanwhile, Kyambogo University has received sh70.7b for the HEST project. During a recent function, Kyambogo acting Vice Chancellor Prof Eli Katunguka said the money will be used to renovate the Faculty of Engineering laboratory; construct new facilities in various faculties; and supply furniture and equipment to various departments.
Kyambogo will also use the money to provide training to staff, conduct research and implement the institution’s master plan.
Kyambogo will also construct a Science Park and Incubator Centre at the Faculty of Science.
HEST intends to rehabilitate and expand science, technology and innovation learning facilities to 80,000 square meters in the six public higher learning institutions of Makerere, Kyambogo, Mbarara, Gulu, Busitema, Muni, UMI and MUBS.