For every university student, there are countless, varied trials to negotiate, along with triumphs to celebrate.
As Ndejje University students jubilated at their 14th graduation ceremony, held at the main campus in Luweero recently, there were many positive stories to share. Sarah Nakabugo joined the university with a grade-three teacher education qualification but decided to be a cleaner.
While pursuing her cleaning services, she studied and qualified as a grade-five teacher and later obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Guidance and Counselling. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology. Such a go-getting character has dared Nakabugo’s dream into politics. For Prof Eriabu Lugujjo, the Vice Chancellor, Nakabugo is one of the many inspiring stories that have made Ndejje a distinctive university.
See, in addition, sports have remained a major priority in the university for 11 years now. Ndejje University sports men and women have won in various games; Sarah Nambawa became the first Ugandan to win a gold medal in triple jump at the Africa senior championships in 2010 and Wilson Kipkemei won three gold medals in 5000m, 10,000m and 21km, in Turkey in 2005. The university also won Kisumu International Badminton open championship and the national volleyball championship.
The sports students here won the Inter-University games in 2011 and represented Uganda at the 5th world cup woodball in Malaysia in September. Ndejje is now preparing its sportsmen and women for the upcoming Rio Olympic Games in 2016. Success in sports at Ndejje has not only seen the university acquire modern facilities, but also a full department of Sports Science.
In its 20th year now, the 14th graduation had one of the biggest numbers of graduands – 1,430, of whom 722 were female and 708 male. Of the 29 who excelled with first class degrees, nine were female. Of the 77 that graduated with master’s, 31 were female. Prof Lugujjo noted that with more females graduating, it’s is a clear indication of the university’s achievement in gender mainstreaming and commitment to balanced achievements.
He encouraged the graduands to use their degrees and reject bad behaviour such as false prophets and corruption. During prayers, the main celebrant of the day, Bishop Evans Mukasa Kisekka, encouraged graduates to reject the kind of life that poisons the world.
“We ought to conduct ourselves in a way that will not leave rot in heritage of our descendants. We should leave behind a legacy of sweet thoughts and memories for all those who will live on after we are gone. The world we live in is full of rot, rot of corruption, greed, evil arbitration, lust, selfishness, selfless, and wickedness.”
He said Ndejje was repositioning itself in the area of science and engineering. So far, modern laboratories in civil, electrical, mechanical, petroleum engineering and geomatics have been established. In October, Ndejje students were admitted as members of Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers.
The department of Civil Engineering, in collaboration with the consulting firm Safari engineers, has secured support from the CrossRoads secretariat under the ministry of Works and Transport to carry out testing of the road stabilization chemical called Ecoroads. Also, in collaboration with Makerere University’s college of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology, the university shall be testing the use of termite saliva as a road stabilization chemical.
In research, Prof Lugujjo says, the university is set to participate in comparative studies on advancing the impact of HIV/Aids prevention, treatment and intervention among adolescents. Prof Stephen Talitwala, the Chancellor, said in order to emphasize professionalism in the university courses, Ndejje had signed memoranda of understanding with different entities such as Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda, Kampala Evangelical School of Theology, ministry of Defence and National Enterprise Corporation.
Dr JC Muyingo, the state minister for Higher Education, praised the university for promoting sports, and advised them to set up innovation centres to improve quality of research and skilled education. Since degrees are no longer a guarantee for jobs, Muyingo urged graduates to be part of entrepreneurship training for skilled development.