Makerere University Business School (Mubs) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lira University aimed at strengthening business and management education. The agreement will see students and staff from both institutions exposed to various fields via training and development exchange programmes, knowledge sharing and symposiums, writes YUDAYA NANGONZI.
Mubs deputy principal Prof Moses Muhwezi said the agreement will, among others, leverage both Mubs and Lira University’s School of Business and Economics’ long experience of running business programmes.
“The spirit of the MoU is to benefit from each other. We chose to partner Lira University because it is a new public university, dynamic and moving at a fast speed,” Muhwezi said at the signing ceremony in Nakawa last Friday.
Muhwezi said it has been costly to partner some institutions abroad, thus the need to tap into local universities. “We don’t need to [always] run to developed countries to solve Africa’s problems. When you deal with local partners and examiners, they know your situation better and are quite not expensive to facilitate yet their quality remains excellent,” he said.
This academic year 2019/2020, Mubs has admitted two students from Lira University as part of the partnership. For the next three years, Mubs will give staff scholarships to one student on master’s and one at PhD levels from Lira University that are expected to complete their courses in five years. Signing on behalf of Lira University, the vice chancellor Prof Jasper Ogwal Okeng, acknowledged the need for enhanced business and management education at both institutions.
He cited the university’s stand-alone degree in Midwifery where graduates will immensely benefit from the partnership. “These will soon be professional midwives and legally allowed to run private maternity homes. How will they run their homes without being equipped with business and management skills? However much you are a science institution, you can never separate science and humanities,” Okeng said.
Located 16 kilometres out of Lira town, the university started off as a constituent college of Gulu University before it got autonomy in 2016 as the eighth public university. Sitting on more than 600 acres, it currently runs three faculties of Management Sciences, Health Sciences and Education.
The broad framework of the partnership will last for a five-year period with the possibility of renewal after making a general assessment. Renewal of the agreement shall be effected through the exchange of letters of intent within six months prior to the expiry of the MoU.
“In case of unilateral withdrawal from the agreement by one of the parties, a six-month notice period will come into force,” reads the MoU in part.
In the next five years, Mubs and Lira will endeavour to establish and promote mutually beneficial scientific, educational and other relations in the areas of joint research, organisation of conferences and workshops, exchange of students and staff, mutual assistance in the establishment of new programmes and exchange of information and publications.
According to Article 4 of the MoU on the exchange of students, the institutions shall, upon agreement, accept students from each other on a reciprocal basis as the two institutions may agree from time to time. It adds that the institutions shall also offer tuition fee waivers for students on the exchange programmes.
“The institutions shall facilitate the securing of accommodation and research permits for visiting students, where applicable, and necessary supervision during their periods of stay at the respective institutions.
The institutions may exchange staff as external examiners, visiting professors or any other category as agreed in addition to developing joint programmes,” the MoU notes.
Currently, Mubs has an enrolment of 18,000 students and 1,050 staff with four satellite campuses in Arua, Mbale, Jinja and Mbarara and an annex campus in Bugolobi for postgraduate students. On the other hand, Lira University has 1,800 students and 241 staff.
Of the 241 staff, only 80 are academic. In the four years, the university has been slow in terms of infrastructure, according to the vice chancellor.