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Onyango championed affirmative action- Okwakol

By Mathias Mazinga

Added 26th September 2018 10:07 AM

“Bernard Onyango was highly committed to affirmative action. He was the one who persuaded the Senate at Makerere University to accept the policy of the additional 1.5 point for the female students in the early 90s,''

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The Vice-Chancellor of Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi, Fr Prof John Chrysostom Maviiri, second left, and the chairman of the university's alumni, Ambrose Kibuuka, left, handover an appreciation award to the family of the late Bernard Onyango, the University's founding Academic Registrar. Photos by Mathias Mazinga

“Bernard Onyango was highly committed to affirmative action. He was the one who persuaded the Senate at Makerere University to accept the policy of the additional 1.5 point for the female students in the early 90s,''

EDUCATION

The Vice-Chancellor of Busitema University and chairperson of Uganda National Examinations Board, Prof Mary Jossy Nakandha Okwakol has praised the late Bernard Onyango for his heart-rooted commitment to girl-child education and women emancipation in general.

She credited Onyango for his spirited efforts towards the implementation of the policy of affirmative action at Makerere University, which she said had given thousands of women the opportunity to contribute to national and global development.

“Bernard Onyango was highly committed to affirmative action. He was the one who persuaded the Senate at Makerere University to accept the policy of the additional 1.5 point for the female students in the early 90s,''

He consequently enabled thousands of girls who may not have seen the gates of Makerere to join the prestigious institution. The girls later graduate and became very useful to the country and the global community.”

Okwakol was delivering the inaugural memorial lecture of Bernard Onyango at Protea Hotel, Kampala on Thursday (September 20). Onyango was the founding Academic Registrar of Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi (UMU).

  ome of the ons alumni and founding members of ganda artyrs niversity kozi in a group photo with the family members of the late ernard nyango Some of the Dons, alumni and founding members of Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi, in a group photo with the family members of the late Bernard Onyango

 

He joined the Catholic Private University in 1993, after retiring from Makerere University. The lecture was organised by the alumni and management of UMU.

Okwakol later spoke highly of Onyango ethical sensitivity and professionalism, which she said enabled him to execute his academic registry obligations at Makerere and UMU, for four decades.

“He was one of the most outstanding contributors to higher education. He was widely reputable for his skills and tenacity to set academic administrative standards and structures.

By establishing firm foundations for systems both at Makerere and UMU, he promoted academic excellence. He always did his work with integrity, diligence and efficiency. He never exhibited sectarianism, in the execution of his duties. He was indeed an icon of higher education, who also believed in gender equality as a pre-condition for sustainable development.”

Quality is critical

In her later discussion, Okwakol called upon higher education managers to put in place measures to ensure the quality of the professionals they pass out. She encouraged higher educational institutions to embrace ICT, and to do what it takes to attract and retain quality staff as strategies for quality assurance.

She further advised Universities (and other institutions of higher learning) to invest more in research, innovation and publication, and also, to reform and align their curriculum to the development needs of the country and Africa.

“Our students need to be equipped with the relevant knowledge and skills which will enable them to have a competitive advantage. This also calls for the establishment of sustainable partnerships with the private sector.”

Okwakol later called on the stake-holders in higher education to put in place pro-active measures to check vices like examination malpractices, sexual harassment and irregular admission of students.

She also called for a culture of dialogue between students and staff, to prevent strikes in institutions of higher learning. She further requested government to increase higher education financing and also, to take  quick and efficient implementations of the various educational policy recommendations.

 he students and alumni of  leading the singing of the niversitys anthem The students and alumni of UMU leading the singing of the University's anthem.

 

Prof Oloka Praises UMU

Prof Joe Oloka-Onyango, who spoke on behalf of Bernard Onyango’s family, thanked the alumni and management of UMU for honouring his father. He said the late Onyango was so committed to UMU that he would board a taxi from his home in Makerere to Kayabwe, from where he would walk about five kilometers to the University.

The Vice-Chancellor of UMU, Fr Prof John Chrysostom Maviiri asked the Catholic laity to strengthen their contribution to the development of the University. He said that by honouring Onyango, the University was recognising the role of the laity in the establishment of UMU.

The inaugural memorial lecture of Benard Onyango was one of the precursor activities for the 25th anniversary of UMU, which will take place at the main campus at Nkozi (in Mpigi district) on November 9. The lecture ran under the theme: Higher Education at Crossroads: What Would Onyango Have Said?

The former Vice-Chancellors, Prof Michel Le Jeune and Prof Charles Olweny graced the function. Others in attendance included among others Engineer John Baptist Walusimbi (founding member), the national head of the Catholic Laity, Gervase Ndyanabo,  the Rev Msgr Lawrence Ssemusu, and, the President of the alumni (UMU), Ambrose Kibuuka Senninde.

PIONEER DONS REWARDED

During the same function, Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi (UMU) gave appreciation awards to some of its founding dons and administrators in recognition of their remarkable contribution to the establishment and subsequent development of the university.

Those who received accolades included Rev Fr Prof Michel Le Jeune, the pioneer Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dierdre Carabine, a pioneer lecturer and composer of the university’s anthem,  Prof Charles Olweny (a former Vice-Chancellor), Innocent Byuma (a former academic registrar) and Dr Joseph Sekandi, a former security guard and current Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture.

The function was one of the precursor activities for the 25th anniversary of the UMU, which will take place at the main campus at Nkozi, in Mpigi district, on November 9 (2018).

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