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Makerere to become research-led university this year

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th L) and Assoc. Prof. Huang Yu (3rd L) are joined by L-R: Ms. Ritah Namisango, Prof. Peter Atekyereza, Ms. Martha Muwanguzi (Rear), Dr. Vincent Ssembatya (Rear), Zhang Pengbin, Prof. Tonny Oyana, Dr. Ruth Nalumaga and Mr. Walter Yorac Nono in a group photo after the MoU signing. (PML PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Makerere University will this year launch a 10- year strategic plan that will transform Uganda’s premier higher learning institution into a research led university.

The university vice chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe says the strategic plan development team will complete the document in March 2019. Prof Nawangwe says the plan will be launched in August.

The plan has been developed through a consultative approach. Prof Nawangwe says the approach taken during drafting strategic plan has harmonised ideas at the institutional, national, regional and global levels and will produce the desired blueprint for transforming Makerere into a world class research‐led university by 2030.

Makerere’s 2008/2018 strategic plan expired last year. The university management asked for a one year extension of the old plan to be on par with the National Development Plan. The university targeted to become a research led institution in the plan which expired.

A research university is one with at least 20% graduate student enrollment. But between 2008 and 2018, the proportion of graduate students at Makerere declined.

“Although we set out to become a research-led university in the current strategic planning period, we declined considerably from a graduate student enrolment ratio of 13% to the current 9%,” said Prof. Nawangwe. Adding that; “This unfortunate development was occasioned by a deliberate reduction in graduate student admission by some units; and a considerable increase in undergraduate enrolment in the search for money to run the University.

Over the ten year period, the enrollment levels had exceeded the strategic plan projections of 35,000 students including both undergraduate and graduates by 2011/12 academic year, the highest being 41,094 students recorded in 2012/13. Other enrollment parameters included increasing the enrollment for international students and science based disciplines while decreasing enrollment in humanities.

The 2016 visitation committee report recommended turning Makerere into mainly a graduate institution but also focusing on science courses at undergraduate level.

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.

Prof Nawangwe last year said visitation committee report gave them a leeway to start lobbying for more funding from government to anchor Makerere into a research university.

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