Makerere University Council together with the University Community has honoured President Yoweri Museveni with an award for his outstanding scholarly contribution in authoring a Thesaurus in an indigenous African language, Runyankole-Rukiga and is entitled Katondoozi.
The award was presented to the President at the 69th graduation ceremony of the University at the Freedom Square in Kampala.
Receiving the award, Museveni said; “Thank you for recognising our work. I was able to extract most of the words from my father before he passed on. I also thank Professor Muranga and others for helping me to capture that very rich language.”
Addressing the gathering, Museveni then reiterated Government commitment to improving remuneration of academics in public Universities.
“The NRM government is committed to ensuring that university staff are remunerated well, and eventually we shall match global standards. This will be done gradually and in tandem with the country's economic growth. In doing this, we must also prioritise. Not all university staff will get a salary enhancement at the same time. We need to fight the war of capacity building in a disciplined way like we did the liberation war,” he said.
“The hen pecks what it can swallow. Don’t aim at things you cannot achieve. We are doing it according to the capacity of our economy. We are struggling and I am assuring you that we shall succeed,” he added.
He also urged Makerere University staff and different academics to engage in in relevant research.
“For example, you must investigate why Africa, with the exception of Ethiopia, was easy to colonise and how this should be avoided. Academics should not only understand the history of Africa, but also the laws of nature; how to tame and manipulate them for the benefit of man.”
“Social science disciplines should aim at developing management skills and entrepreneurship, even through the arts and entertainment like Kato Lubwama, the member of Parliament. If this teaching is done correctly and purposefully, then the products (graduates) will be useful to society.”
The President commended Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and his team for disciplining errant lecturers and staff of the institution.
“We don’t want decadence, the crime of cheating of marks or raping of children by lecturers,” he stressed.
The Minister of Education and Sports Hon. Janet Museveni noted that in the next ten years, Makerere University will focus on becoming a research-intensive institution.
‘By prioritising research, Makerere University is reclaiming its leadership position in providing solutions to challenges faced by Uganda and Africa as whole,” she said,’
She added that her Ministry is committed to strengthening the institutional capacity of higher education institutions in the country to deliver quality post graduate education and training as well as building collaborative research capacity in national priority areas like agriculture, health, education, and applied statistics.
Ms. Museveni was pleased with the progress so far made by the government to address long-standing disputes with the staff of public universities as regards remuneration enhancement and a new structure.
The University Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma appreciated the support the government continues to provide to Makerere University noting that “this support has enabled the university to improve on many aspects of the institution.”
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, advised graduands to be patriotic and God-fearing. He assured them that with the knowledge they have acquired at the University, they will certainly succeed in life.