President Yoweri Museveni has applauded Makerere University academicians and scholars for embracing integrated education that focuses on research, innovation, value addition of products. He noted that this would in turn help to churn out people who are needed in the job market.
The President was at the inaugural launch of Makerere University Agricultural Week at Freedom Square in Makerere University.
Mr. Museveni who toured various exhibitions showcasing several value-added agricultural products and innovations hailed the scholars for being inquisitive and thinking right to develop the nation.
“It is not the first time we have heard educated people. We had them since the 1950s. Even before the coming of Idi Amin, the innovation was not so much until recent times. People now in the Faculty of Veterinary are starting leather technology, which really impressed me! One of the Professors has discovered the vaccine to kill the three types of ticks. This one is going to make Uganda one of the richest nations! Congratulations on your thinking. Africans in the past had abstained from thinking. Their job was to copy but here things have changed,” he said.
Mr. Museveni advised the innovators to link their products to their heritage as it promotes uniqueness and captures the African culture. He reiterated that Makerere University must aim to be on top by focusing on modernizing Africa’s ancient knowledge.
“This business of being in fifth position cannot be allowed, Makerere should be in first position because this is an indigenous university. The government will do whatever it can to make sure Makerere is on top,” he vowed.
The President hailed Makerere University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe for encouraging students to prioritize research and innovation at the university instead of only theoretical courses.
“Normally people who are born in remote places turn out to be useful people. When I appointed the Vice-Chancellor recently, it was not easy to locate where he came from on the map. This man from a remote place has added value to Makerere University,” he noted.
Mr. Museveni informed innovators that he would set up a conference with them in Entebbe mid next month to discuss how government can support each of their innovations.
State Minister for Higher Education, Dr. John C. Muyingo, thanked President Museveni for his continued support and love to university education in the country. He noted that with what had been showcased at the exhibition, Makerere had transformed from an ivory tower to a centre of innovation. He also thanked the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries for recognizing the role of the youth in developing the backbone of the national economy saying it was time the young people pursued agriculture as a career.
Vice-Chancellor Nawangwe thanked President Museveni for the continued support to the University project through the Presidential Initiative on Science, Technology and Innovation.
“Thank you for the 30 billion Uganda Shillings that you have injected in the project. Some of the things that you have seen in the exhibition are as a result of your support. We pledge our total commitment to use every penny to develop the University and the country,” he said.
Professor Nawangwe appealed to the President to consider supporting postgraduate students through a special loans’ scheme for them to which President Museveni promised to look into.
Makerere University Council Chairperson, Mrs. Lorna Magara, noted that the exhibition showed that Makerere was steadily transitioning to research-led institution and contributing to agricultural development. She noted that the agricultural development program in the University sought to improve its agricultural output, food security and improve the agricultural value chain.