By Patrick Opio
Senior Communications Officer
A total of 380 students have graduated with Master`s degrees and Post Graduate Diplomas and Bachelor Degrees of Lira University, indicating a slight increase in the number of people picking up university education. They graduated with Executive Masters in Business Administration, Arts in public administration and management; Public Health, Bachelor of science in midwifery, community psychology and psychotherapy, among others.
Information availed during the 4th Graduation held at the university on 13th January 2023 indicates that in 2019, at least 192 graduated in a ceremony graced by President Yoweri Museveni. This was the 1st Graduation ceremony.
In a speech read by the Vice President, Jesca Alupo, President Museveni lauded the leadership of Lira University for staying on course to deliver its great vision to being a Centre of Applied Sciences and Technology in Uganda.
He said the National Resistance Movement will remain commited to the promotion of science and technology for the development and sustainability of the economy.
“I am optimistic that the graduates from this University will form a formidable taskforce which will spur Uganda`s industrialisation and technological advancement since they are teaching relevant academic courses,” he said.
Museveni added that the university is equipping students with skills that give them a better job market.
“This is the only way the Government and parents will gain value from enormous investment in our children’s education,” he added.
The Vice President, Jesca Alupo praised the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Jasper Ogwal Okeng and his team for steering the university in a direction of steady development. “As the former Education Minister who worked hard to get this university started, I am very happy that the baby is growing faster. We shall continue to support it in many ways,” Alupo says.
Invest in Research
State Minister for Higher Education Dr JC Muyingo represented the first Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Mrs Janet Museveni.
Mrs Museveni thanked the graduates and encouraged them to use the knowledge they have acquired to create jobs for others. She further urged the university management to invest more in research and publication.
The 1st Lady promised Government support that will see the University progress in a modern standard, especially in the science, technology, research and innovation fields.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Jasper Ogwal Okeng revealed that Lira university graduated 380 students (224 males and 156 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.
“We acknowledge 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 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,” Prof. Ogwal Okeng asserts.
Open Distance and E-Learning Programme
The 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.
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. It is also helping in training intern doctors and nurses. Currently there are 16 interns (6 nurses and 10 doctors at the hospital.
A hostel for the interns is under construction and should be handed over to the university in three months’ time.
We have continued to attract highly 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 females) 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
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. 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 two undergraduate students that won grants from the Innovations Fund under the Ministry of Science, Technology and 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) is has developed the Kawu Debit card being used by parents to transfer and monitor funds to their children in School. The card has won many national and regional awards already. He is currently working on the credit card version.
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. 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.
- Inadequate equipment for routine and specialised investigations.
- Low staffing levels due to underfunding.
- Insufficient office accommodation space due to lack of administration block. Work on the administration block has stalled due to insufficient funding.