By Francis Emorut
JINJA - Kyambogo University has experienced turbulent times in the recent past, something that has hurt its reputation. In order to redeem its image, the public institution’s top management has been trained in discipline and grievance handling.
The training was found necessary after a needs-assessment was carried out.
"We identified the areas and gaps where we are deficient, in the way we do things in the appointments board, tribunal, council and top management and decided to undergo training," said Prof. Eli Katunguka, the university’s vice chancellor (VC).
The VC admitted that the institution ought to improve its image after long enduring negative publicity.
In effect members of the appointments board, the tribunal, council and top management had to undergo training in discipline and grievance handling as well as governance and organizational change.
"We hope to get a much better unified university with minimum conflicts and strikes and allowing students to study so that they graduate within the time allocated for their programmes," said Katunguka.
The training was conducted by Civil Service College Uganda (CSCU) by experts in conflict resolution, organisational change and good governance in Jinja.
Frederick Anyine, the progam manager of leadership and management development at CSCU, said that discipline and grievance handling is critical for the survival of the university that has been thrust in the media spotlight . . . for a number of wrong reasons.
A Kyambogo University official receives a certificate from the acting PS, ministry of public service, Adah Muwanga (R). Looking on is the acting director of CSCU, Enock Mutambi. (Credit: Francis Emorut)
VC Katunguka feels that the ideal situation is to see more peaceful learning and a teaching environment at the university.
He lambasted those saying that the university should revert to a polytechnic and teachers training institution. To such critics, Katunguka said they are lagging behind the new developments taking place at the university.
Kyambogo University was established in 2003 by merging the Uganda Polytechnic Kyambogo (UPK), the Institute of Teacher Education, Kyambogo (ITEK) and the Uganda National Institute of Special Education (UNISE).
The problems the university is facing, Katunguka added, are not related to the merger, but are instead the work of the previous management under his predecessor Prof. Omolo Ndiege.
"People who think that we should go back are lagging behind the history. We shall not go back to where it was, instead we need support from everybody and very little negative criticism.”
The vice chancellor underlined the new developments at the university as including introduction of arts and social sciences, school of management and entrepreneurship and faculty of vocational studies and others.
‘Don’t worry too much’
He explained that the university is in the process to expand its infrastructure with help of an African Development Bank loan of $28m (about sh84b). When this is done, he added, Kyambogo will become one of the best universities in Uganda.
The top management of Kyambogo University pose for a group photo after the training. (Credit: Francis Emorut)
The chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Mondo Kagonyera recently said that since Kyambogo University has failed to take off due to conflicts, it should revert to its former status.
Meanwhile, the chairman of Kyambogo University Council, Prof. John Okedi implored the institution's top management not to spend much time worrying about the negative publicity and instead concentrate on teaching and doing research.
"Don't spend too much time worrying about negative reports in the media. There is no university which has no problems.”
During the closure of the three-day induction training, Adah Muwanga, the acting permanent secretary in the ministry of public service, encouraged Kyambago University’s top leadership to be firm and concentrate on doing right things.
The acting director of CSSU, Enock Mutambi urged Kyambogo University’s council, tribunal and appointments board to improve on how to handle disputes to avoid negative publicity.
Mark Seremba, the head of Governance programme at the college implored the university top brass to use inner governance as a tool for effective leadership.
The training was attended by the chairperson of the university tribunal Elijah Wante, the university council chairman, Prof. Okedi, the vice chancellor Prof. Katunguka, director of human resource, Godfrey Tumwesigye, academic registrar and top management.