Vice-Chancellor’s Graduation Speech 2018Collins Mann
Read Professor Joy C Kwesiga’s (Vice-Chancellor of Kabale University) speech which was given at the third (3rd) Graduation Ceremony of Kabale University as a Public University.
Date: 26th October 2018
On behalf of the Kabale University community, I welcome you all to the 3rd Graduation Ceremony since Kabale University attained Public Status.
We once again welcome our Chancellor, Professor George Mondo Kagonyera. We do appreciate the special attention you give to developments at Kabale University, and we take your guidance very seriously.
We would like to record appreciation to H.E. the High Commissioner of the Republic of Nigeria for his interest. He attended the previous ceremony. He is here again, and we need to thank him. Thank you and welcome.
The Uganda High Commissioner to Rwanda, and his team are most welcome. This is an Embassy where you visit and feel at home because of the reception and the guidance they provide. Other High Commissioners/Ambassadors.
Allow me to specifically welcome our Guest Speaker, Dr. Patrick Bitature, Chairperson of Simba Group of Companies. We are aware that this is your first visit to Kabale University. We sincerely thank you for taking this step, and we hope this opens up the doors for you to make many more visits.
We welcome the Chairperson of the University Council, Hon. Manzi Tumubweinee, and all the members. We are happy to receive all members of the Senate. We are grateful for the individual and collective guidance provided by the two governing bodies (to stand for recognition).
All our distinguished guests, you are all welcome!
CURRENT ACTIVITIES AT KABALE UNIVERSITY
Mr. Chancellor, Sir, normally, the Vice Chancellor’s Address on such occasion provides a status report of events at the University. Today, however, we would like to give enough time to you and our Guest Speaker, so that the graduands, students, staff and our other guests can benefit more from your messages. I will therefore summarise the events in question and a detailed report will be availed to you under separate cover.
Restructuring of Academic Programmes:
A major activity for Departments, Faculties, Institutes and the Senate has been the restructuring of the academic programmes. This is a requirement for the transition from Private to Public status. While curriculum reviews have taken shape, there is need to relate the programmes to infrastructure development, human resources, finances, student projections and related matters. We are doing this at Unit level, taking account of the existing Strategic Plan. In this connection too, the University is in advanced stages of engaging consultants to develop a Master Plan. Therefore, Mr. Chancellor, Sir, you will get a full report, identifying the future direction of this University in due course, when we complete all the required steps.
Development of Policy Documents & Guidelines:
The University continues to review and/or develop policy documents, in addition to what was reported last year. For example, constitutions of Academic Staff Association; Administrative Staff Association, and the Convocation have recently been approved by the University Council. These reviews are necessary because all documents must be in line with our new status.
We are happy that we are now able to attract senior academicians. Since the last graduation, we have been able to recruit 42 new members of staff. Of these, (6) six are full Professors, three (3) are Senior Lecturers, 16 (sixteen) are at Lecturer level (meaning that they are Ph. D holders, while 9 (nine) are at Assistant Lecturer Level (holders of Masters degrees). The rest consist of technicians and other support staff. This is a very positive development, but we need to sustain the trend because we have programmes that require new staff as students advance to higher years (e.g. in Medicine and Engineering).
This year, the University Staff Development Programme is supporting staff as follows: Eleven (11) Ph.Ds; Seven (7) Masters Degrees; and one Professional Course in Accounting. These are registered in Universities in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Norway and the Netherlands, and of course in Ugandan universities. Taking into account the small number of staff (about 240 in all), this contribution becomes proportionately important.
The University continues to develop its research capacity. On the basis of our current Budget, the University has already issued research funds to Twenty (20) members of staff across the Faculties and in the Administration Units. This is a quarterly event, and therefore we expect to release more funds in subsequent Quarters. However, these are small research grants, and therefore the University is looking to different sources of funds, especially through writing proposals and collaborating with like-minded organisations.
As an illustration, I am glad to report about a recently won five-year project under HEPI (support for health education), where Kabale University is part of a consortium of universities of Makerere, Busitema, and Clarke, training Doctors and Nurses and building their capacity in research and as health trainers. On the part of Kabale University, the project will involve training health workers at health centres in the Kigezi region. We would like to thank the Team Leader for this Project, Professor James Tumwine, of Makerere University, who invited Kabale University to join the bidding team. Prof. Tumwine is also a member of Kabale University Council.
The University has a project to train Staff in Proposal Writing, both at in-house level, and beyond, through other collaborations. For instance, four members are being trained under DAAD (German Cooperation). We are sure to make improvements each year.
Kabale University has signed many Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) to improve our service delivery and ensure quality education. Examples include:
- Volunteers from the Republic of Nigeria. There is an agreement between the Governments of Nigeria and Uganda. Experts are sent to Universities in Uganda for a period of two years for each visit. As of now, Kabale University is hosting seven (7) experts in the various disciplines. We thank H.E. the High Commission of Nigeria for his support
- Kabale & Mbarara Referral Hospitals
- Kabale District Health Services Unit
- Upstate University of New York (maternal and child health)
- World Wide Healing Hands and the University of California (though Dr Arthur Bikangaga) towards tele-medicine facilities. This group has already donated quite a number of equipment to Kabale Referral Hospital, and more, we are told, is coming. In addition, Dr A Bikangaga several times deeply touches in his pockets in order to make things move faster.
- University of Byumba in Rwanda. The Deputy Vice Chancellor is present – stand up for recognition.
- University of Ngozi, in Burundi.
- University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
- Kigezi Industries (U) Ltd (Practicals in Engineering).
- Kyamakanda Technical Institute (Practicals in Engineering)
- The Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda – promoting education on “Intangible Cultural Heritage Education in Ugandan Universities.”
- Student enrolment:
We expect to reach the 3000 mark in enrolment by the end of the Semester. We have to work on closing the gender gap because so far, female students are just under the 40% percentage mark.
- Student Leadership:
We have a new Student Guild Council, led by Mr. Francis Bbaale, who is a Third Year student of Engineering. (call for the Student Cabinet to stand up for recognition).
- International Students:
We continue to host International Students from Rwanda, Tanzania – mainly from Zanzibar, Kenya, Congo, Southern Sudan, Burundi, DRC and Bangladesh.
- Co-curricular activities:
Although we have to work hard on improving our recreational facilities, I am glad to report that students are doing their best in this field. Recently, at the competitions of KADGLA (Kabale District Guild Leaders Association), KAB won 3 trophies in Netball, Basket Ball, and Athletics (men). More completions are planned soon and KAB expects to make a mark.
IMMEDIATE CHALLENGES TO THE UNIVERSITY
This is the request we are not about to drop. We need more land on this hill. We need more land from Kabale District Local Government. If you look up the hill, it is clear that the land is waiting for us to develop it, beyond utilizing it as small plots for some annual crops. Last year, we did explain that this is the period to complete the Kabale University Master Plan. It would be a pity if the land which would have been given to us so that it could form part of our Master Plan may be given to us rather late.
This is an obvious weak spot. We are working from a multi-pronged approach to address this issue. The General Lecture Halls Block above the current Library will soon be handed over by the Contractor, for use. We have some money to resume construction on the stalled Science Lecture Halls Block next door. We pray that the fund gets increased in the next budget.
Sadly, this year we have lost a number of people:
- Ms Joy Kirenga – who was an Administrative Officer in the Human Resource Unit.
- Apolonia Tushemerirwe – 3rd Year BAED
- Atukunda Vivian – 2nd Year BSCED (Government Sponsored)
- Tukahirwa Jackline- 3rd Year BED
- We have learned of the sad news about the passing away of Mr. Wilson Tibugyenda, the Chief Administrative Officer of Kabale District.
Today is the burial of a distinguished educationalist, Dr Canon Sarah E.N. Ntiro, the First Woman Graduate in East and Central Africa, and a role model to many men and women in and beyond Uganda. It is in light of her special contribution to the education of the Girl Child that Kabale University chose to name one of the Hostels for Female Students, after her! We are happy that we have something to always remind posterity of her legacy.
May their souls rest in eternal peace!
Exploitation of E-Learningfacilities and embracing of distance education.Senate is due to discuss a proposal to this end.
Strengthening collaborations and exchanges: Additional proposals are in the pipeline.
Relevance to the communitycontinues to be a key area in our operations. Many units are being urged to tackle this issue through ensuring practical approaches to their teaching.
Research and publications– this is an area that the University plans to invest in heavily. We shall need support of the University Council in this area.
Strengthening of Graduate Training: The University has been running graduate programmes up to Masters Level only. We are now moving ahead. It is planned that in the new Academic Year (August 2019) Ph.D Programes will start.
ABOUT THE CURRENT GRADUATION CEREMONY
A total of 1003 graduands will be passed out. The awards will include Diplomas, Undergraduate Degrees, and Masters Degrees. Of the total number of Graduands, 43% are female.
As in the past, the 20 graduands who will be awarded 1st Class Degrees will be recognized at this Ceremony. Their names will be read at the end of this address and they will receive a Handshake from the Chancellor! We congratulate them.
Message to Graduands:
“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, they make them.” – George Bernard Shaw
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” – Nido Qubein.
“Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.” – Larry Winget
We wish to express appreciation to the Government of Uganda for taking over this University and for the support it is providing. We wish to assure you, our Chancellor, and the general public, that we continue to enjoy a lot of good will from Government Officials, both political and technical.
In particular, we pay special tribute to H.E. the President for his personal interest in the University. In addition to facilitating the process of transforming from private to public status, the President monitors our progress. We thank him.
Similarly, we are grateful to the 1st Lady and Minister of Education for regular support. For example, she agreed to officiate at our Open Day on 4th May this year.
The Rt Hon. Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, who was also the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees before the University turned public, has always provided a listening ear. We thank him.
We are welcomed into Government offices in the relevant Ministries and other agencies (Finance, Education, Public Service and others).
The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has always been ready to support and guide the University. We thank them.
We thank the Government of Uganda for the sponsorship of 300 students in the programmes of Engineering and Science Education.
We appreciate the efforts of the Higher Education Financing Board whose Executive Director is here present, Mr. Michael Wanyama. We now have 196 students who have accessed this facility. We want to assure Government through Mr. Wanyama, that this loan has made a difference in the lives of students. Some had dropped out of their programmes (e.g. undergraduate Medicine) but they can now focus on working hard rather than worrying about whether they will sit for their examinations. We that the Board.
Mr. Chancellor, Sir, I wish to assure you that our University Council and Senate representatives continue to give their services devotedly. We do value their concern for quality.
Staff and students are in the main cooperative and take their duties seriously.
I am glad to report that Management is working as a team – a most desirable state of affairs – and I hasten to add – not so common in contemporary Uganda.
We need to appreciate the efforts of the parents, guardians and other sponsors, who choose to send students to this University. We do not take this for granted, and we thank you for this trust.
We need to thank the community around the University. They continue to show interest in the development of the University. Apart from providing accommodation and other necessities, the community opinion leaders are keen to ensure that all obstacles are overcome. In this respect, I wish to recognize the efforts of Mzee James Zatwoshaho, who along with colleagues are urging the District to provide more land to the University. They are role models in patriotism.
Last but not least, Mr. Chancellor, Sir, and our Guest Speaker, let me take this opportunity to express heart-felt thanks to the District & Regional Security Teams. They provide guidance and support at any time and they take a pro-active stand in helping the University to run smoothly. Very many thanks to RDC, RISO, RPC, DPC and DISO (if present, please stand up for recognition).
In this regard, I wish to report that we now have a fully-fledged Police Post at Kikungiri Campus, headed by Assistant Superintendent of Police, Cadet George William Okello. Although the Post is quite new, we are happy about how they have taken up their duties. They have made a difference already.
Kabale University has reached a take off stage. Staff and students need to seize the opportunity so that they can “run” along with the University. Those who are slow will be reflecting, rather late, on the Hymn which cautions in Rukiga – Abarikweziringa Twabasiiga!
Knowledge is the Future!
For God and My Country!