Makerere and St. Augustine International University (SAIU) last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at strengthening capacity building in human resources.
Through the partnership, SAIU which has distinguished itself as a private not-for-profit institution that offers scholarships to bright, but economically disadvantaged students, hopes to harness Makerere’s decades of experience in training human resources in a wide range of disciplines,
“Makerere is not only training students but also producing quality human resources for the entire education sector,” said remarked H.E King Caesar Augustus Mulenga the SAIU Board Chairman.
Mulenga, a prominent businessman and philanthropist who is also the Vietnamese Honorary Consul to Uganda, explained the thinking behind the partnership.
“As an employer, I often encounter challenges in finding PhD holders who are also well oriented with teaching. We therefore desire as part of this collaboration, to have staff of Makerere come over and help us develop quality programmes and good administration,” he said.
Mulenga, a Makerere alumnus himself, added that the university’s contribution to training quality human resources is vital for the building good institutions in Uganda.
“Good human resource is key and that is why one of the areas under this MoU is to strengthen capacity building in Human Resources,” he said.
As part of its institutional philanthropy SAIU offers fifty scholarships every year to bright but economically disadvantaged students to attain higher education.
“Our strategy, by picking theses students from the rural setting, is that once they graduate, they will go back to their own communities and help them. Due to the overwhelming need, we have also started scholarships at the diploma level and Medical Assistants who already hold Diplomas are being helped to upgrade so as to better serve the community” remarked H.E. Mulenga.
On his part, Makerere Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed Mulenga and thanked him for officially visiting his alma mater.
“It is our strategy as Makerere University to help all other Universities grow because when they are strong, we are all stronger,” the VC said.
“We must also appreciate Your Excellency and St. Augustine International University for enabling bright but disadvantaged students to access higher education. It is very clear that you didn’t start the university to make money but to invest in our youth and we thank you for this.”
Speaking at the signing event, Ruhinda North Member of Parliament and Chairperson, Finance, Planning and Administration Committee of Council, Hon. Thomas Tayeebwa thanked Prof. Nawangwe and the University Management for collaborating with SAIU, noting that the only way for Makerere to remain the best and continue scaling to greater heights is by reaching out to help newer institutions.
“I commend H.E. King Mulenga for starting St. Augustine International University and reaching out to disadvantaged students but as an alumnus, I also call upon him to come and support his alma mater Makerere University.
“As alumni, we need to come back and give scholarships to bright but disadvantaged students and support the Makerere University Endowment Fund” remarked Hon. Tayeebwa.
Tayeebwa also stressed the need to overhaul the universities admission system, which presently, appears to favour students from well-to-do backgrounds, whose parents can afford to pay tuition at Higher Education Institutions. He proposed the district quota system and student loan schemes targeting the disadvantaged as possible solutions.
Prof. Nzarubara Gabriel is the Vice Chancellor of SAIU and long serving member of the medical fraternity. The specialist Surgeon with teaching and research interests in anatomy earned his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) from Makerere and served the University from 1974 until his retirement in 2009.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Nzarubara thanked Prof. Nawangwe for facilitating Makerere’s collaboration with SAIU.
“As a teacher, I always do my best to train my students to be good doctors because one day, they might be my doctor and it will be sad if I didn’t do my best with them. Makerere should therefore take great interest in the aspect of staff exchanges because one day, these students are going to treat us” added Prof. Nzarubara.
Contributing to the day’s discussion, the University Secretary, Mr. Charles Barugahare noted that research in health and training of health professionals attract a good percentage of donor funding to Makerere University.
He therefore urged SAIU to write joint proposals with the College of Health Sciences (CHS) so as to attract more
funding to the collaboration.
The University Secretary also informed the meeting that the University Council had passed a policy enabling Colleges to start the own endowment funds. He cited the School of Law and the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) as units that had already kicked off efforts to establish their own endowment funds.
The Principal CoBAMS, Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali who was present at the ceremony welcomed his college alumnus H.E. Mulenga and supplemented that CoBAMS’ Endowment Fund will, just like SAIU’s philanthropy provide scholarships to bright but disadvantaged students.
He shared that the Fund would tentatively be launched in November 2018 and invited the Chairman SAIU to join efforts to give back to his College.
In the same vein, he thanked Hon. Thomas Tayeebwa for having already contributed to efforts to kick-start the CoBAMS Endowment Fund.
The MoU signing ceremony was also attended by the University Bursar-Mr. Evarist Bainomugisha, the Principal College of Education and External Studies-Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi, Personal Assistant to the Vice Chancellor-Mr. Gordon Murangira, SAIU Director of Operations-Mr. Henry Mbonye and other officials from SAIU.
Leading the parties through the signing procedure, the Senior Legal Officer-Mr. Goddy Muhumuza noted that this was the second MoU to be signed between Makerere and SAIU.
He said that the terms of the MoU included exchange of staff and students, sharing of laboratory services and harmonisation of admission procedures for joint admissions among others.
The MoU also stipulates that any intellectual property developed as a result of the collaboration will be shared according to contributions made by either party.
The MoU was signed on behalf of Makerere University by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and on behalf SAIU by the Chairman, Board of Trustees, H.E King Caesar Augustus Mulenga.
Prof. Nzarubara Gabriel and Mr. Goddy Muhumuza signed as witnesses.