The Idea of Kabale University was born way back in 1995 under the umbrella of the Kigezi Development Association. In 1999, Kabale District Local Government signed and sealed a commitment deed confirming its donation of land in Kabale Municipality for the development of Kabale University.
This contribution was fifty-three (53) acres of land and the developments on it at Kikungiri Hill and Nyabikoni. In the same year, an application to operate Kabale University as a centre of higher learning was submitted to the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES).
Kabale University is located on Plot 364 Block 3 Kikungiri Hill, in Kabale Municipal Council, about 2 kilometers off Kabale-Kigali Highway. This consists of 50 acres of land. The University can be accessed via Mukombe Road and University Road, which connect the Kikungiri Campus to Kabale-Katuna Road. An additional Campus (Just over 3 acres) is located on Plots 66-76 in Nyabikoni Parish in the Central Division of Kabale Municipal Council.
The University was established as a not-for-profit community institution, owned by the people of Kigezi – citizens of the current districts of Kabale, Kanungu, Kisoro and Rukungiri. The University opened its gates in 2002 to forty-two (42) students and presently has a student enrolment of about 3000 students: coming from all parts of Uganda, and the neighbouring countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.
Kabale University has recently been transformed from a private into a public University. Statutory Instrument 2015 No. 36 of 16th July 2015 formally established Kabale University as a public university under the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act (2001) (as amended in 2003 and 2006). This action was as a result of the community request to the Government of Uganda, through H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at various fora, and as approved by the relevant Kabale University Governing Bodies.
Prior to the change in its legal status, Kabale University had registered many achievements, culminating in the grant of a Charter – Charter Certificate No. UI.CH.008 dated 29th September 2014. The Charter was assented to by the President of the Republic of Uganda on 25th October 2015.
Kabale University is therefore a unique institution in Uganda, enjoying the status of being the first institution of its kind to metamorphose from private to public – and having been granted a Charter – the last stage of accreditation by the Uganda National Council for Higher Education.
Needless to state, Kabale University has great potential. It is now at a stage where it is clear that many opportunities are at hand, having laid a strong foundation and in view of the expected benefits arising from its new legal status (a public and chartered institution). The location of the University offers the chance to link the Anglophone and Francophone parts of the Great Lakes Region not only in terms of scholarship but also as a contributor to the social and economic integration of the area.
The University’s niche is defined in terms of the geographical location and catchment area, comparative advantage over other universities in the region as a secular university and the competitive programmes offered at the University.