Makerere University has unveiled a two-year master of science in land management. The programme falls under the department of geomatics and land management, in the college of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) was launched by Judith Nabakooba, the minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development on December 21.
Dr Lydia Mazzi Kayondo, the head of department, said of the 50 pioneer students, 10 are on full scholarship provided by the World Bank. The World Bank also provided equipment and teaching materials; it will also facilitate the programme teaching staff to benchmark in other countries where a similar programme exists.
Some of the students are staff of the ministry of Lands. She added that the concept paper and design of the programme was developed by a team led by Prof Moses Musinguzi.
The programme has five focus areas of knowledge: land tenure, land value, land use, land development, and research and project management. At a cost of Shs 7.6 million per semester, the comprehensive course incorporates disciplines of: land surveying/geomatics, physical planning, architecture, natural resource management, land economics/valuation surveying, law, civil engineering, geography, land administration/management, and real estate management.
Nabakooba praised the course as being timely, and since it is research-based, she added, it will be helpful to government in carrying out policy and legal reviews. The pioneer students include some staff of her ministry.
Nabakooba said the course will produce land management professionals that will be critical in solving the many problems beleaguering the land sector. She mentioned the increasing land conflicts and disputes across the country, the existence of more than one land tenure, overlapping land rights, fraud in land transactions as land becomes scarcer and land fragmentation due to population increase.
Others are, she said, encroachment on fragile ecosystems in search of fertile soils, and lack of land rights for women, the elderly and other marginalized groups. She challenged her staff who are beneficiaries to feel obligation to pay back.
“I want to congratulate the recipients but also caution them to work hard. As a ministry, we expect a lot from you once you have completed the degree.”
Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe said the World Bank contributed $500,000 (about Shs 1.8bn) to the establishment of the programme while the ministry also contributed some cooperation support. He mentioned inefficient service delivery that discourages land markets and lack of skilled labor force to plan and implement land reforms as challenges in Uganda’s land management regime.
Nawangwe said the course would be multidisciplinary and help different specialists in the land sector share experiences.
“Currently, land professionals; surveyors, valuers, lawyers, architects, real-estate agents, etc. are biased in each of their individual disciplines and lack a comprehensive view of the land domain,” he noted.
A brochure about the programme, prepared by the college, gives the justification at greater length.
“One way of achieving efficient and sustainable utilization of land is by having professionals with multidisciplinary skills in handling and guiding different stakeholders on how to work with land. However, such professionals are lacking as the nature of training at higher institutions of learning can only permit having graduates in a particular core competence such as land surveying, physical planning, land law, land economics and land valuation. This gap in training and research has led to a limitation in human resource capacity in developing frameworks and policies to address various land issues...This programme, therefore, endeavours to produce a holistic land manager/ administrator to enhance the capabilities of the ordinary physical planner, land surveyor and registrar for example....”