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Mbabazi said Uganda Christian University (UCU) must stay true to its motto of being a centre of excellence in the heart of Africa, adding that the University is strategically contributing to the development of human capacity for the labour force in the region.
“An educated and skilled human resource is indeed a strategic precondition for a country’s sustained economic growth and development,” Mbabazi said.
The Premier made the remarks during the 15th Graduation Ceremony of UCU at the main campus in Mukono on Friday. The University conferred degrees and awarded diplomas to a total of 1,239 graduands.
Mbabazi, who was the Guest of Honour, said Uganda had emerged as the leading centre of excellence in education in East and Central Africa, adding that Government was proud of the remarkable expansion of the tertiary education sector which boasts of 34 universities, including 28 which are privately owned.
“Youth unemployment and underemployment are some of the development challenges in developing countries like Uganda where the youth constitute the highest percentage of the labour force,” he said, therefore graduands must be innovative and create jobs in the private sector.
The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and Chancellor of the University, The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, urged Government not to tax tertiary institutions which serve the public good but rather should enable them to plough back any surpluses to develop themselves.
“I pray that Government will hear our plea in this matter so that not-for-profit universities are not stifled in their work,” Ntagali pleaded in response to the recently introduced income tax on tertiary institutions.
Ntagali also appealed to Government to support private universities to access facilities for quality education such as research funds for Academics and to continue protecting religious founded institutions in the impartation of godly values because education without values only makes clever devils.
The Chancellor thanked the Government for rolling out the student loan scheme in both public and private universities. He also hailed the alumni of the university who have made a difference in the job market with employers asking the institution to second candidates for employment.
Mbabazi also launched a book, “More than one wife, polygamy and grace”, co–authored by Archbishop Ntagali and Eileen Enwright Hodgetts, about which he challenged the Church to search for answers on how to abolish polygamy in the 21st Century instead of shunning polygamists.