Mbarara University of Science and Technology’s 11 First Class students have attributed their success to group discussions. The students, who were receiving their degrees at the university’s 16th graduation on January 30, said group discussions rule the academic world.
The university passed out 882 undergraduates and 23 postgraduates and awarded honorary degrees to two people. The two are Prof. William Senteza Kajubi, former vice chancellor of Makerere and Nkumba Universities, and Raphael Owor, vice chancellor of Uganda Matyrs University Nkozi.
One common thing about the 11 students who obtained first class degrees, is that they all say they engaged in class discussions with friends.
John Baguma Muhunga, who received a First Class BBA degree (Accounting Option), said students who share information tend to learn better. “I believe in the theory that knowledge shared is knowledge gained,” he said with a smile of satisfaction.
The 40-year-old Baguma, who hails from Kasese District, has just resigned as a school bursar at Kasese Secondary School and been taken on by Mbarara University as a Teaching Assistant and is planning to go for a master’s degree in the next academic year.
He is married with three children. President Yoweri Museveni has on previous occasions complained that the university has moved away from its original focus on science and technology to embrace such courses as Development Studies, which he says do not help the quest to keep graduates employed.
However, Medard Twinamasiko who received a First Class degree in Development Studies disagrees. He maintains that the course has its roots in community development.
“You cannot develop this country unless you really look at how to develop the community,” he said. And just for effect, Twinamasiko says, he has already got a job with West Ankole Diocese where he is helping in its community development projects. He has also already enrolled for a master’s in Development Studies (Conflict Analysis).
Zurah Mutesi, who got a First Class BBA degree, says: “We cannot all do Medicine; some people have to do other things that make a society whole.”
Mutesi has already received a few job offers but has turned them down to partner with a friend in starting a pharmaceutical drug shop in Mbarara.
Her classmate and fellow First Class awardee, John Bosco Nsengiyunva, says he has been taken on as a Teaching Assistant and is pleased with the opportunity to further his academic pursuits. He says his focus will be on teaching entrepreneurship and furthering good accounting skills.
Rachel Nalugonjo, who got a First Class degree in IT, believes in being focused. “When it is time to read or pray I do that seriously, when it is time to have fun I also do it seriously,” she said.
She has already been taken up by Computer Frontiers International Ltd, in Kampala, as an IT specialist. She advises young people to focus more on God in their academics. Justine Nakintu who scored a First Class BSc degree in Education (Chemistry and Biology) says she was focused on success at all costs.
“Being an orphan, I knew that the only way out of problems was to study hard,” she said.
Asked about distractions from boys, she said she decided to focus on one who was serious. “We are in a serious relationship and we are looking to starting a family,” she said.
Mbarara University does not classify its graduates in Medicine. They are all deemed to have passed in first division. Anyone who fails that division drops out. At the same function, Mbarara University awarded honorary doctorates to Prof. Raphael Owor and Prof. William Senteza Kajubi.