Flashback: Soroti University opens

By Hannington Mutabazi

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In August last year, a baby was born in Teso region, this baby is Soroti University.

Here is what we wrote then.

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Pride of Teso opens

A retired midwife of Soroti referral hospital Joyce Mary Adongo 65, is one among the 120 pioneer students of Soroti University of science and technology that opened its gates for the first semester on Monday.

Students were taken through orientation by the University Academic Registrar, Dean of student and University secretary and the exercise is taking one week before they embark on studies next week.

James Okello the University Academic registrar said that they are starting with three courses; bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery and bachelor in nursing science that the National Council of Higher Education has accredited.

"There was a delay in the arrival of equipment for computer engineering from abroad to enable us to have three courses kick start now but we are hopeful that they will arrive to enable us enroll students in February next year," Okello said.

He explained that sixty students are on government sponsorship while the balance is on private. Already the university has attracted students as far as Tanzania and Kenya who have enrolled on private.

On Monday, Adongo the eldest student was the centre of attraction from fellow students and university staff who posed for pictures with her.

After clocking sixty years mandatory retirement age as a midwife in Soroti in July 2014, Adongo went to Florence school of nursing and midwifery in Apac district to work as clinical instructor.

"While there I found out that we were only five people who were diploma holders while the rest were at degree level. So, when I had of Soroti University, I applied because I do not want to die an instructor, my dream is to complete my course then enrol for postgraduate for tutorship," Adongo said.

If she successfully completes, she will graduate in 2023, when she is 69 years of age.

"The age is not an issue my son! Once I finish graduating there are many nursing institutions ready to employ me and by God's grace, I will make it," Adongo who hails from Katakwi district said.

For Nasra Edward 21, from Tanzania and a former student of Dodoma University where she studied for two semesters, had to abandon her course of guidance and counselling after she successfully got admitted in Soroti University.

"Though my dream course was to become a medical doctor, I failed to make it in my country forcing me to enrol for guidance and counselling. However, when I heard from a friend about Soroti University, I applied and I was lucky to be admitted," a happy Nasra said.

Innocent Odhiambo from Kenya is another student beaming with a smile after being enrolled to do medicine.

"I tried Gulu University but I failed and, on my way, home I met a friend on a bus who encouraged me to apply to Soroti University where I managed to make it, I am very happy to be here," Odhiambo, said.

Commenting on the issue of accommodation since the government has not built hostels at the campus, the University spokesman Juma Hassan Nyene said that government will pay for hostel fees for government-sponsored students in the nearby hostels.

The university has in the past been rocked with a number of controversies ranging from land wrangle from 130 aggrieved residents of Apuuton village who were evicted and corruption.

Apuuton residents in Arapai sub-county are claiming ownership of the disputed land where the University now lies on and the case is still in court following the destruction of their houses.

That aside the University secretary Ruth Achimo, was recently interdicted on allegation of corruption.

It's alleged that Achimo 59 and Edward Obeele, 40 the former University bursar diverted 1.6b meant for capital development to the payment of employee allowances, rent, retainer fees, inland travel disbursement and legal fees.

Achimo who appeared before grade one magistrate Moses Nabenda in April this year was released on sh10m cash bail.