Turn Makerere into science courses University - Visitation Committee

Saturday, 30 December 2017

The 2016 Visitation Committee report has recommended turning Makerere University into mainly a graduate institution but also focusing on Science courses at undergraduate level.  
The report was handed over to President Museveni on Friday at his Rwakitura home in Kiruhura district. It was presented by the visitation committee acting chairperson, Justice Ketra Katunguka. The committee chairperson Dr Abel Rwendeire died in October after saying he had accomplished the task and was awaiting the President to receive the report.  
According to sources who attended the meeting, Justice Ketra Katunguka read the report recommendations that hinged on transforming Makerere into a graduate university and transfer of a number of colleges to other universities.  
The report for instance recommends that College of Education and External Studies (CEES) be transferred to Kyambogo University, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) be transferred to Nsamizi Training Institute of Social Development and College of Business and Management Sciences (COBAMS) should be transferred to the Nakawa based Makerere University Business School (MUBS).  
This would leave the university with five colleges and the School of Law. These colleges are; College of Natural Sciences, College of Health Sciences, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology, College of Computing and Information Sciences and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.  
The idea of turning Makerere into a graduate university was initially raised by Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) Executive Director, Prof Mahmood Mamdani, in his presentation to the visitation committee.  
 "The rapid growth in the number of universities in Uganda has created an acute scarcity of qualified lecturers. This is part of a larger scarcity of qualified staff with research skills, whether in government or business or the non-profit sector. Only Makerere has the experience and the capacity to carry out the necessary high level training," Mamdani argued in his presentation to the committee. 
Prof Mamdani further noted; "Makerere will need to be transformed from a mainly undergraduate to a mainly graduate university, from a mainly instructional to a research university. This will require a radical change: reduce the number of students at Makerere and change the ratio between undergraduates and graduates." 
Other issues concerning Makerere University raised in the report include causes of students' strikes, re-branding the local and international image of Makerere, duplication of courses, high academic staff-students ratio, lack of staff supervision, lack of ICT skills among staff, inadequate infrastructure and misuse of institutional resources.  
The report also highlights general issues concerning higher education landscape in Uganda especially higher education funding.  
"The report will be discussed by Ministry of Education to come up with the cabinet white paper. We have been told that the cabinet committee will get back to us for more input," a source who attended the meeting told this reporter.
The meeting was attended by Education Minister Janet Museveni, Makerere University Council chairman Dr Charles Wana Etyem, Chancellor Dr Ezra Suruma, top management team led by Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, college principals, students' leaders and outgoing Makerere Academic Staff Association chairman Dr Muhammed Kiggundu.