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Meet Makerere’s geniuses

By Vision Reporter

Added 31st October 2004 03:00 AM

Beat Nabacwa: SHE was one of the six female students who attended lectures with 45 male colleagues. One of them dropped off along the way.

FRED Yikii, 24, emerged the best science student at Makerere University this year with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.9 out of 5.0.

Beat Nabacwa: SHE was one of the six female students who attended lectures with 45 male colleagues. One of them dropped off along the way.

FRED Yikii, 24, emerged the best science student at Makerere University this year with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.9 out of 5.0.

Beat Nabacwa: First class degree in Mechanical Engineering

By Yasin Kironde and Raphael Okello

SHE was one of the six female students who attended lectures with 45 male colleagues. One of them dropped off along the way. Of the remaining four, Beat Nabacwa is the one who has been awarded with a first class degree in Mechanical Engineering at the recent Makerere University’s 46th Graduation Ceremony.

“I always aimed at something close to this but a first class, was seemingly out of reach although it remained one of my targets. I had made before why not now. Here I am. My dream has come true,” a jovial Kolo explains.

Nabacwa completed her Primary Leaving Examination in 1993 at Gayaza Junior School as the best pupil in Mpigi District with aggregate 4. She joined Gayaza High School for her O-Level. Although she was the best student in her district and delighted to join secondary, something deeply worried the then 13-year-old girl.

“It was challenging. I had joined a school reputed to admit only the brightest pupils from the best primary schools in the country. I knew I had to work extremely very hard,” she recalls

That perception was to become the foundation of her future academic excellence. She made a private reading timetable, which she keenly followed and consulted with those she looked up to as academic geniuses. Her hard work and consultation paid off. At O’level Nabacwa got aggregate 10 in the best eight subjects and remained at the same school for A’ level.

Nabacwa excelled again by scoring BCBA in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and German respectively. She was admitted at the university for Mechanical Engineering.

“My sister influenced my decision to study Engineering. She had studied medicine so I thought I should diversify the trend in the family by taking on Mechanical Engineering,” she says.

“Our father, Mr. Muhammad Matovu Kolo, had a bias on science subjects that is why most of us have ended up doing science related courses.”

Kolo says he wanted to have his daughter pursue Medicine at University for he thought there were more opportunities for her getting to Makerere then through Medicine than Engineering.

While her sister is currently in America pursuing a PhD in Medicine, Nabacwa is doing her Masters degree, by correspondence, in Sustainable Energy Engineering at KTH University of Sweden.

But how did she cope in a class that was predominantly full of male students (45) and studying a course that many believe is an exclusive preserve for the male?

“I had the faith and since I had enrolled on merit, I strongly believed that I could do it just like my other five female colleagues,” says the former Mary Stuart Hall resident.

“Girls too can excel in science subjects. They have to put their mind to it. It is also a very good foundation for parents and teachers to encourage the girl child to believe that sciences are not meant for only boys.”

But it was not all that challenging to study with the boys. She says, “They (boys) were often supportive to us considering their numerical advantage.”

The course was too demanding and busy most of the time but Nakacwa made sometime off for play and partying to make herself fresh for the next day.

Nabacwa is brilliant and ambitious. She has a first class degree stashed under her belt and is gunning for a Masters degree. She uses three ideals to guide her towards achieving her ambition.

“Have goals, be focused and work towards achieving them,” she says.

Since those ideals have so far worked for her, only the sky can be the limit.

Arua dude, Fred Yikii: From reject to fame
By Arthur Baguma

FRED Yikii, 24, emerged the best science student at Makerere University this year with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.9 out of 5.0.

Prior to joining Makerere University, he was not among the best students at A’level nor had he ever excelled in any national exams.

A DDC score in Physics, Chemistry and Biology (PCB) at A’ level could not take Yiiki to Makerere on government scholarship. But as luck had it, he was re-considered after some slots on the government sponsorship roll remained vacant.

“At first I was not admitted, but there were extra places and I re-applied. I was already pondering where to get money for private sponsorship when luck knocked,” he says.

After reapplying, Yikii was admitted for a Bachelor of Science in Community Forestry in 2001.

Regina Namata Kamoga, his former lecturer describes Yiiki as a very intelligent chap. “Every time he put up his hand in class, you expected a challenging question,” says Namata. “Even when marking exams, I referred to his script as a marking guide sometimes. He used to get above 80 in all tests and exams. Sometimes, I would desist from giving him 100% which he deserved anyway,” she adds.

To Yiiki, there is no magic in achieving what he attained. He says one has to be self-motivated and hard working.

“You must have a target of what you want to achieve in life and work with determination towards achieving that target,” Yikii advises.

His aspiration was to study Environmental Health Science but did not get enough points to qualify for it. “I am sure if I had qualified, I would still have emerged the best,” Yikii says with confidence.

To friends, Yikii is intelligent, quiet and humble. “He is not bossy. He does not even realise he is that intelligent,” remarked Willy Bbale, a former classmate. However, despite being the best student, he says his worry is treading the streets in search for a job.

“I love to serve my country to the best of my ability, but at the moment I have no calling. Hopefully my faculty will retain me and I offer services to the university or sponsor me for further studies,” the graduate pleads.

The Chancellor, Prof. Apolo Nsibambi handed him a sh500,000 cheque, a necktie and a plaque for being the best student on October 22.

Yikii was born in a polygamous family to John Nyakuni and Eve Iniki both primary school teachers at Yivu Primary School in Maracha, Arua district.

He completed his primary level at Yivu Primary School in 1994 and joined St. Joseph’s College Ombachi for Ordinary and Advanced Level studies.

Meet Makerere’s geniuses

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