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What I wish to do if given Makerere VC job 

By John Masaba

Added 16th June 2017 01:47 PM

Here is what each candidate hopes to do to turn around the university that in recent past has been stifled by debt and persistent strikes

What I wish to do if given Makerere VC job 

Here is what each candidate hopes to do to turn around the university that in recent past has been stifled by debt and persistent strikes

Aspirants for the Makerere University vice chancellorship this week held presentations, articulating what they hope to do after taking up the institution's top job. Each of the three candidates was given about 20 minutes to articulate their vision for Uganda's top public university. Below John Masaba brings you what each candidate hopes to do to turn around the university that in recent past has been stifled by debt and persistent strikes:

Prof Venansius Baryamureeba

Restoring quality and economic independence of Makerere University will be central to my tenure. Makerere University mission talks about providing innovative services responsive to national and global needs. 

Our services will be ICT-enabled, including integrating e-learning in into all programmes of the university. I am looking at full automation of the university library to ensure quality learning and research.

I will ensure that Makerere programmes are ISO 9001 certified to ensure that they conform to international standards.

Makerere University will have a customer services charter so that our main clients like the students can know what to expect from the university.

We shall refurbish and upgrade teaching and learning infrastructure. The department of dentistry, physical planning and architecture don't have good infrastructure at the moment. Therefore we shall ensure some kind of affirmative action to ensure that those departments' infrastructures are uplifted.

We shall also periodically review academic programmes. We are a researcher-led university and we are going to increase the level of graduate students to at least 30 % of annual enrolment. Research and innovations will be given priority.

In addition, we shall strengthen systems and structures at the colleges to ensure that a big chunk of resources they generate remains there to help them ably run their activities.

Most of our money comes from government and from education levies, which is not enough. We are getting very little from grants; I think we got 79, which is very small for Makerere. 62.2% of our expenditure is on employ cost, which means what is left is not enough to cater for the university's requirements. Every year we will increase revenue by about 25%. I will do this by revisiting the university's idle land and turn it into a commercial asset for the university.

We shall also increase enrolment of the short course and improve our working relationship with government. We shall integrate e-learning into distance learning to attract more students to the programme.

My projection is 100,000 students by 2022. I will ensure we have joint projects with other universities to generate revenue. Other universities like Stellenbosch (South Africa) have military academies, which we can introduce here to increase our income streams.

To bring on board publicity and more income, I propose naming our buildings after prominent people. We can also award honorary degrees to distinguished people like Nobel laureates and philanthropists like Bill Gates.

On staff welfare, we are going to vouch for medical insurance and staff housing schemes. Professors are retiring from Makerere and have nowhere to go.  We also need to review the retirement age for our professors. Even at 80, they can still be valuable to the university. Professor Ali Mazrui, for example, retired at 81. 

Prof Barnabas Nawangwe

I have worked under six vice chancellors at Makerere.  I started as a lecturer and I have risen through the ranks to my current position as deputy vice chancellor finance. Each of the VCs has given me special assignments of contributing to the growth of this university and I have exceled.

I pioneered the college of architecture. Within five years we had acquired accreditation from the Common Wealth Association of Architecture, becoming one of the only three universities on the continent to reach such milestone.

I have been a proficient research leader and I have chaired the largest research programme in Makerere. At one time, one of the research programmes I supervised was voted the best in the whole world. It was also under my leadership the Kiira EV (first Ugandan-manufactured electric car) was developed.

I am a resource mobiliser. I have raised more than $100m for research during the period I have been in this university. Makerere is ranked number three in Africa and 500th in the world. But we are the only university without a hospital. We are planning to have a major teaching university hospital at Katalemwa [Wakiso district]. We want a well-motivated, skillful and vibrant staff. We also want a satisfied and focused student community. We take the cream of our society. We don't want them to come here and end up in riots.

Prof Edward Kirumira     

His vision will be based on a performance-based utilization of the academic and administrative staff in determining the academic standards and research.

He also promises a strong working relationship with the government. This, he says, is to attract the much needed funds to move the university from the financial quagmire in which it is currently.

"Dependency on tuition cannot make Makerere University break even," he said.

He hopes to use the university's academic staff as the main resource mobilization force to support his revival programme especially through research.

He says the university is not doing enough to make the most out of its high student population.

"A close to 40,000 students is not a small clientele," he says. 

If given the mandate, Kirumira hopes to restore stakeholder confidence at the university through sound financial accountability. He says poor financial accountability is the source of persistent staff and student strikes at the university.

"All this can be done starting with a leadership that can be trusted, a staff that is sufficiently motivated and efficient, a student body that feels and experiences an improved teaching and learning environment…," he says.

He hopes to expand research and promote ICT. He says this will not only enhance quality learning but also help the university generate more revenue.                    

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