By Patrick Opio
Senior Communications Officer
At its 5th Graduation Ceremony, Lira University’s students graduated with masters, bachelor degrees as well as post-graduate diplomas in business administration, public administration and management, public health bachelor of science in midwifery, community psychology and psychotherapy among others.
The commissioner of University education in the ministry of Education and sports, Timothy Ssejjoba has called upon graduates at Lira University to navigate and make a significant Impact to the society and build a better World.
Presiding over the graduation ceremony of 400 students on Friday 19th Jan, at the University, Ssejjoba said they should not be proud of witnessing the end of their education journey but also look at the challenges that lays ahead of them.
“Each one of you has a potential to create an impact on society having graduated now because you are seen as the uptake of the future because education has equipped you with necessary tools to build a better World,” he said.
The students graduated with masters, bachelor degrees as well as post-graduate diplomas in business administration, public administration and management, public health bachelor of science in midwifery, community psychology and psychotherapy among others.
“With this rapidly changing of the World which we live in and has become hard to penetrate. Education becomes increasingly critical. It is not merely acquiring facts and figures but about developing critical thinking, fostering creativity and instilling a sense of responsibility towards our community and the planet as well,” he says.
He added that education has armed them not just at building the mind with knowledge but ability to think critically and to solve complex problems individually, socially and internationally.
The University`s chancellor, Justice Dr Benjamin Odoki lauded President Yoweri Museveni for transforming the education sector in Uganda.
He also honored the First Lady and the minister of education and sports, Janet Museveni for her commitment in the sector.
He noted that there is an increase of 10% compared to the previous graduation figures which indicates that there is steady enrollment in the public University.
Sh5b needed for research
He also noted that the University has been expanding which has resulted to new lecture rooms for teaching and research but still there is need to support the construction of an administration block to house the University management.
The contract was awarded to BMK group in 2018 at the cost of sh16.6billion and it was supposed to be delivered after 36 months but failed.
He said they have secured a new contractor, National Enterprise Corporation and had signed a contract to complete the building and they are calling upon President Museveni to fulfil his pledge of sh12b to support the construction.
He also called upon the government to increase its budget on research and innovation in the next financial year to sh5 billion since they are emerging as the other youngest University in the land.
“I can assure you that this money will do wonders for the country in producing our next primary innovators and business startup since we are in the era of socio-economic transformation and the University make visible and credible contributions to support the process.” He adds.
Kole resident district commissioner, Josephine Omara Olili who graduated with bachelor degree in public administration says the World is moving at faster rate as far as education is concerned and there is need to double the speed.
“We also need to double our speed by being faster to ensure that we catch it through education,” she says.
She urged her colleagues to go back and study because education doesn’t consider the egg, time and the period spent outside.
She appreciated the government for offering an enabling environment by providing the necessary facilities for everyone to study.
Oscar Akaki, who graduated with bachelor of science in public health says he was extremely very excited because he had been struggling to pursue the course for three solid years and through God`s mercy, he has completed it.
He pledged that with the level of education he has attained, he was ready to save life and work for the people of this country.
Quinto Okello, another graduate of Bachelor of Science in midwifery, says his dream was to join the profession and be part of the struggle to reduce maternal death in the country.
Prisca Agweng, equipped with a bachelor degree in community psychology and psychotherapy urged the youth to struggle because education is the key and if you have paper you will never fail in life or fail to get a job.
He added that some people say that nowadays if you study there is no job but I want people to know that you don’t go to school only to get a job but to learn and grow.
I warmly welcome you to this 5th graduation ceremony of Lira University. Today we come to witness the great work of the graduands, the lecturers that prepared them and the sponsors that supported their training financially. Most of them undertook the training on private sponsorship with the government only sponsoring the majority in science programmes.
We join in celebrating the fruits of this hard work and take pride in ushering them in the world of work after acquiring knowledge, skills and behaviour that should give them competitive advantage to participate in national development.
Your Excellency, today Lira university is presenting 400 students (217 (54%) males and 186 (46%) females in the six (6) faculties of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing and Midwifery, Education, Computing and Information Sciences and Management Sciences. This represents an increase of 10 %, evidence that we are expanding and growing at a steady pace where we are able to balance student enrolment with the available resources.
Lira University is governed as stipulated in the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, 2001, as amended in 2003 (UOTIA).
- University Council is the supreme organ of Lira university and is responsible for the overall administration and ensures the due implementation of the objects and functions of the university.
- The Vice Chancellor has set up a Top Management Committee from officers of the University to advice on the day-to-day administration of the University.
- There is the Senate that is responsible for the organisation, direction and control of the academic matters of the university and as such the Senate shall be in charge of teaching, research and the general standards of education and research and their assessment in the university.
Your Excellency, Lira University has continued to expand infrastructure to cater for learning and other extracurricular activities. A new ultra-modern block has just been completed and is furnished and equipped to run courses in medical sciences and Science Education. The faculty of Medicine, housed in the new block has now launched the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) programme with 40 students in year one.
Open Distance and E-Learning Programme
Your Excellency, Lira University was able to embrace the Open Distance E-Learning (ODEL) following the lockdown due to Covid-19. In spite of the fact that the university is barely six years old, we were able to develop a strong ICT Department that was able to guide the operations of our on-line learning programmes.
We are grateful to your efforts in supporting the strengthening of our ICT infrastructures which greatly enhanced the effective running of on-line teaching. I am happy to report that our semester programmes were never fundamentally disrupted as learning continued from home. The University established ODeL Coordination Office that was able to train all staff and students in the use of the on-line teaching and learning procedures. Our readiness to graduate this year’s lot is highly attributed to the on-line learning programmes.
Your Excellency, we continue to appreciate the Government of Uganda for funding the construction and equipping the Teaching Hospital in Lira university campus. The hospital is already supporting teaching of Nurse/midwives, Public Health and Community Psychology and Psychotherapy classes. Services in major clinical areas is offered in the various clinics in the hospital.
Lira University Teaching Hospital is also recognised and accredited as a training site for medical interns and the ministry of health has been posting interns (medical doctors and nurses) to the facility every year. A 32 room, self-contained hostel has been constructed to facilitate the training of the interns.
The Hospital is also helping in training intern doctors and nurses. Currently there are 096 interns (4 nurses and 5 doctors) at the hospital.
We have continued to attract well qualified teaching staff in all the faculties. This has enabled Lira University to expand to six faculties (Medicine, Nursing & Midwifery, Public Health, Management Sciences, Computing and Information Sciences and Education) and three directorates (ICT, Research & Graduate Training and Quality Assurance).
Twenty-six (26) staff (16 males and 10 female) are on PhD training locally and abroad. Three staff (all female) have returned after obtaining their PhD degrees in Clinical Psychology, Public Health and Gender and Women Studies, respectively. Two medical doctors have returned after obtaining fellowships in Paediatric oncology and Gynaecologic oncology, respectively.
Lira University has also embarked on post graduate training. Today we are presenting 88 (25 females, 63 male) post graduate graduands from the Faculties of Public Health and Management Sciences (details in graduation book).
Research, Publications and Innovations
Your Excellency, Lira University has continued to develop research capacity amongst the staff and students. Lira University Research and Ethics Committee (LUREC) has been accredited by the National Council for Science and Technology and is already operational.
The Courses on research grant writing is run regularly and a number of research grants are being won by staff and students.
Of special mention are four student innovators who have won many grants and are already shaking the nation and the entire globe stage with their cutting-edge innovations. Mr Ikwara Emmanuel Asher (BSc Public Health) won a 1 Billion Shillings grant to develop a biopesticide against cassava pests and Mr Kakooza Steven (Computer Science) has developed the Kawu Debit card being used by parents to transfer and monitor funds to their children in School.
Teaching staff are also winning research grants that have supported provision of facilities for research and training; Dr Benerd Omech and Anna Grace Auma to be cited.
Acquisition of Land for Faculty of Agriculture and Aquatic Engineering
The people of Amolatar District (Alemere Bung and Agwingiri) generously donated 344 acres of Land to Lira University for the establishment of the Faculty of Agriculture and Aquatic Engineering. The land is being surveyed in preparation for titling in the name of Lira University. We shall be sharing with you the architectural design and budget of this faculty as well as the design and budget of Lira University Library for your support in resource mobilisation for their construction.
SEED Global Health, Vice Chancellors Forum, Consortium of Uganda University Libraries, Research in Education Network, Erasmus/AHEAD-European Union, Public Universities in Uganda, Makerere University Business School, Bournemouth University, Pool Charity Hospital, University of Odisee Belgium, Rotterdam University, Northern Illinois University and University of Michigan. Ministry of ICT, Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Public Service etc.
We have MOUs with National Meteorological Authority and Law Development Centre to set up the third Radar station and regional LDC on this campus, respectively. These are already up and running. They are the first step towards setting up the School of Meteorology and School of Law respectively at Lira University.
Tarmacking the University’s Internal Road Network
Your Excellency, I wish to remind you of your pledge to have the internal road network tarmacked. We are requesting that the contractor on Rwekunye- Apac-Lira-Kitgum road be engaged to do the 24 km road network at the university. This will go a long way in protecting the sensitive equipment in the university.
To the Graduands
Congratulations on your graduation and best wishes for your next adventure! Please be good ambassadors for the Beacon. Keep on growing. Keep adding to the goodness and beauty in the world.
We wish to express our appreciation to the Government of Uganda for the continued support to Lira University. In particular, we pay special tribute to His Excellency the President for his personal interest in the continued development of the university. We thank him immensely.
We are similarly grateful to the first lady for supporting the strengthening our ODeL infrastructure by providing a number of computers to Lira University.
I must thank Associate Professor Joel Okullo Odom, who took over the chairmanship of the Council amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. He steered the hospital and encouraged all staff to participate in the fight against the pandemic. In fact, the hospital operations improved with the acquisition of the vital equipment and the hospital also became a Covid-19 vaccination centre.
The NCHE has continued to support and guide the University.
The University Council and Senate members have been very devoted in rendering service to Lira University.
Thank you and God Bless You all
For God And My Country
PROF JASPER OGWAL OKENG
VICE CHANCELLOR LIRA UNIVERSITY