Vice Chancellor’s Speech on Graduation 2018

On behalf of the University Council, Senate, Staff and Students of the University of Kisubi I warmly welcome you to UniK as we fondly refer to our University; and to the 11th Graduation and wish you, although belatedly, a happy and prosperous 2018. In a special way, I wish to extend a very hearty welcome to Hon Dr John Chrysostom Muyingo, the Minister of State for Higher Education representing Hon Janet Kataha Museveni – the Minister of Education and Sports. We are extremely delighted to have you as our Guest of Honour today when the University of Kisubi is marking the passing out of yet another crop of well trained and highly motivated graduates; ready to meet the tough challenges of the competitive labour market and world of work. Thank you so much Mr Minister for finding time and spare it for us, moreover on a day when the country is remembering late Archbishop Janan Luwum. May the late Archbishop’s soul continue to rest in the perfect heavenly peace.

Mr Minister, we wish to inform you that we have very fond memory of H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni – the President of Uganda when in 2010 he visited the then Kisubi Brothers University College – the forerunner of University of Kisubi. He came to priside over a similar function and at that occasion he gave the University a hefty gift of fifty (50) Science Education scholarships annually for five consecutive years to support bright but needy students studying for the Bachelor of Science with Education. The first intake on this scheme was in the academic year 2011/2012 and the last admission under same scheme was in 2015/2016. And by the time the last batch of students graduate, a total of about 250 secondary school Science teachers will have benefited from the scheme. But when it ended, we requested His Excellency to consider renewing it for another five years. As the Daily Monitor newspaper of Thursday February 08, 201 reported on page 6, Physics and Chemistry are some of the subjects that were worst done in the 2017 O-level examinations, which points to the need to continually train more good Science teachers, who can remedy this dismal situation, a function this University is well positioned to perform; hence our request for more support.

Sir, we humbly request you to convey our gratitude which comes from the depth of our hearts to His Excellency the President, and to put in a word on our behalf about our request to which we have not yet received a feedback. And kindly alert him that although the students had applied, we could not admit them because we had no assurance the scheme would be renewed.

In the same breadth, I wish to welcome and thank His Grace Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga – the Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, who so kindly accepted to officiate at today’s graduation Holy Mass. Your Grace thank you so much for the love you have for this University and the people who work in it. If I am not mistaken, this is your forth visit to Kisubi since the year began. We therefore owe you a big debt of gratitude for this gesture and request you to continue praying for the success of this young University. Likewise I thank all the clergy who have co-celebrated the Mass with the Archbishop.

I cordially welcome our Chancellor, Brother Peter Kazekulya; the Vice Chancellor of Uganda Martyrs University, Reverend Father Professor John Chrysostom Maviiri who is representing his Chancellor at this function; all our very distinguished guests, the graduands’ parents, guardians and benefactors to today’s function. I wish you a pleasant stay for the time you shall spend with us.

Mr Chancellor sir, permit me at this junction to say something about how the University has fared since the last graduation ceremony, which was held on February 10, 2017.

Firstly, I would like to express the University management’s gratitude to the University Council for the good oversight and guidance, even when the going gets fairly tough. In the same vain, I thank the University staff in their various categories as well as our students for maintaining the peace and tranquillity on the campus, which has become a trademark of our University, and for the hard work, which has culminated in today’s colourful ceremony. You have contributed immensely to the development of our University despite the many challenges that come with a young university. The Guild President, Mr Mark Owora and his team, deserve a big pat on the back for maintaining the calm even when challenged by circumstances beyond their control. I urge you to keep it up.

Secondly, permit me to extend a word of gratitude to Uganda Martyrs University (UMU), for accepting our University Council’s request and permitted us to host the 11th graduation ceremony, which is now part of its 23rd Congregation, here at Kisubi. Although today’s ceremony is the 11th since 2007, it is the second for the University of Kisubi as an independent University. At the first graduation held simultaneous with the 10th Ceremony last year, only two students were presented for the award of certificates only. At today’s ceremony, 45 UniK graduands will be presented for the conferment of degrees and award of diplomas and certificates. No doubt the numbers will continue to grow into hundreds, starting with the 3rd graduation, which we hope to hold towards the end of this year (2018).

Thirdly, I am pleased to inform you, our Guest of Honour and all our esteemed guests that on November 27, 2017, and after a thorough inspection process, the National Council for Higher Education, granted our University permission to offer graduate programmes of its own, thus allowing us to run a graduate school, which is not affiliated to another university. This is a rare occurrence for a private university, which is still under license. And for a start, the Council accredited the following UniK higher degree programmes namely: Master of Arts in Education, Master Business Administration, and Master of Science in Clinical and Psychological Counselling. Granting our University permission to offer graduate programmes is another significant milestone in the life of this young institution. This is proof of the high quality university education UniK offers. I wish to inform the general public that admission to these three programmes is underway. And I thank everyone who played a role in securing this status for a job well done. In order to enrich our graduate school and stimulate its growth, we intend to add new graduate courses to those already on offer, including the possibility of starting a UniK PhD programme; after all, we have sufficient human capital, in terms of staff possessing PhD and other advanced doctoral degrees, to run a successful PhD programme.

Fourthly, I allow me to convey the University’s gratitude to you in your other capacity as Provincial Superior and the entire Uganda Province of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, for the transfer of the Community College to the University as a special department. I wish to assure you that as one of our new departments, we shall do our level best to give it a befitting start, while endeavouring to maintain part of its original mission of providing practical skills to needy students in the community. In the near future, we plan to turn this new department into the nucleus of all our vocational programmes.

I am happy to inform our Guest of Honour that this University lays a lot of emphasis on skills development. Most of our programmes have a hands-on component. And in order to intensify this effort as way of lending a hand to the Government of Uganda in its bid to skill the youth, we now offer courses in a diversity of practical disciplines such as catering, fashion and design, commercial art, cookery and laundry practice, to name a few. The list of such courses will continue to grow with time.

Fifthly, during the course of the year we concluded memoranda of understanding with Carlow University in the USA and the Rosemount College also in the USA, for collaboration in the realm of joint student admissions, and award of degrees and other academic honours. We hope to host the President of Carlow University in the near future. The Hilton Foundation (of he Hilton Hotels) is likely to make our University a centre through which it can channel grants and scholarships to deserving religious students studying here and in other institutions in Uganda. Our collaboration with Marywood University in the USA continues to flourish under the Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) programme. On the local front, we are in the process of finalising the renewal of our MoU with Uganda Martyrs University, which has nurtured us to this level of maturity. We continue to work with the Association of the Religious in Uganda (ARU), especially in the provision of scholarships for the Sisters wishing to study for their degrees here.

Over the same period we hosted several guests from within and outside Uganda, including: Dr Susan O’Rourke of Carlow University, Dr Kevin Spencer also of Carlow University, USA; Ms Sandra Basemera and Varsy Wanjau of the Wadhwani Foundation, USA; Eng I.M. Kasana, Executive Director of the Research and Education Network of Uganda Education and Research Network (RENU) – our new Internet provider, who came here July 2017 to conduct a workshop for their engineers at the end of which they installed a lot of equipment free of charge to improve further our Internet speed; Kong Xiangen and his colleagues from Wuhan Polytechnic Institute, China; Dr Douglas Palmer – the Provost of Walsh University together with Dr Ms Rachel Hoster, to name but a few few.

On the side of infrastructure development, our plan to construct a multipurpose complex housing offices, lecture theatres and laboratories is still on hold due to shortage of funds for capital development. However, we are relentlessly exploring all possible sources of funds for this purpose. In the meantime we were able to complete and commission a kitchen for our students in the new hostel where they can cook their meals. In addition, we now have a decent reception at the entrance to the University offices. Together with the institutions on this hill, we are busy beefing up security with new gates being installed in strategic places.

Mr Chancellor sir, at this graduation I shall present a total of 292 graduands for the conferment of first and Master’s degrees, and for the award of diplomas and certificates. Of these 56.8% are female. 219 will receive degrees and diplomas of Uganda Martyrs University in the extended 23rd Congregation of the said University, and 28 will graduate with a Master of Arts in Education degree of Walsh University. However, some candidates of Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Clinical and Psychological Counselling who were expected to graduate today will not be able to do so because of incomplete examination formalities.

To the graduating class, today is that special day you have been eagerly looking forward to over the last three years, and indeed it was worth waiting for. I congratulate you most warmly on your hard earned degrees, diplomas and certificates. Thank you for not letting down your parents, guardians and benefactors who have sacrificed a lot in order for you to have a good education, which is supposed to give you an advantageous head-start in life. While you were here, we did our best to give you the most current knowledge and skills, including, public speaking, good communication skills, ICT skills, analytical and critical thinking skills, and a host of other soft skills. Besides the hard skills you have learnt here, the soft skills I have alluded to will enable you cope with the myriads of challenges life will throw at you. Whether you are in employment of other people or eking it out on your own, put them to good use. The world of work you are joining has become increasingly ruthless. In order to stay ahead of the competition, you must prove by deeds that you are the best there is for the job you are after, while at he same time taking cognizant of the fact that the ICT revolution is here and here to stay, and what it is doing is to compound further the already difficult employment situation the world over. Computer-driven machines are taking over the jobs that humans used to do. Employers are automating the work place in a bid to boost efficiency and reduce costs in order to remain competitive. I know that as UniK alumni, you can outperform machines and any potential competitors. Go and outshine all.

Avoid risky habits and lifestyles, most notably the consumption of marijuana and other narcotic drugs. These are habits that can easily ruin your life in its prime. The country is slowly getting awash with such people whose lives have been cut short as a result of reckless living; or what you young people prefer to call ‘living on the edge’. We need you alive so you can contribute to the national effort of developing our country. And as you walk out of the gates of UniK, be reminded that life out there does not owe anyone a living! It is what you make it!  You can make it easy if you wisely use your education. Above all, never be the gullible type by taking hearsay and perceptions on face value; always question and question until you arrive at the truth.

Thank you for choosing UniK as your University, and now that you are about to become UniK alumni, we expect you to be its vanguard in its development effort.

I wish you happy celebrations and a prosperous future. May the good Lord continue to bless you abundantly.

I thank you